Easy Peasy Chicken Caprese

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This is one of those recipes that I make that is so super easy. Very few ingredients and other than cutting tomatoes and mozzarella balls, there is very little prep. You gotta love meals like this, especially in the summer when these beautiful heirloom tomatoes are abundant. I really only make this in the summer and it is light and delicious. It makes for a beautiful salad as well and you can serve it at room temperature. I made this tonite since I was tired, and had already bought the bocconcini (mozzarella balls) and chicken. You’re not going to believe how easy this is. It’s amazing!

Ingredients:

1 container marinated bocconcini ( mozzarella balls) you will need the oil from the container to marinate chicken ( it comes in an olive oil marinade with spices)

4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves , I buy them pounded thin

Kosher Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper

1 pint heirloom ( if you can get them) cherry or grape tomatoes, halved

Directions:

Take bocconcini balls out of the marinade. Cut bocconcini balls in quarters. Transfer about 1/2 of the marinade from bocconcini to a medium size baking dish , add the chicken , salt and pepper the chicken and let it sit at room temperature for about an hour before cooking. If you’d like you can refrigerate , and take out and bring to room temperature before grilling.

Put cheese in a bowl, add the remaining oil marinade and add the cut tomatoes to this bowl. Salt and Pepper to taste, give it a good stir and put in refrigerator till you’re ready to cook chicken. I removed from fridge about 1/2 hour before I cooked the chicken. Just bring it to room temperature.

Grill the chicken over medium high heat , till you get nice grill marks, probably about 8 minutes. You can cut the chicken into smaller pieces and mix with tomatoes and cheese. I just plated up the chicken and put tomato/cheese mixture on the plate. Perfect summer meal.

Summertime Fresh Tomato Sauce–no cook sauce

IMG_7930 (2)FullSizeRender (3)Nothing better than a really fresh tomato sauce , so fresh that you don’t even have to cook it. Just let the tomatoes marinate for a few hours with some olive oil , basil and a few spices and you’re good to go. So very easy and delicious. A must go-to for summertime and why not anytime? The only down side to making this sauce is that I really feel it needs to marinate in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours and really 4 hours is best. You can taste for salt and pepper during this period.

The other delicious thing to do with this is to add small balls of mozzarella and make a wonderful Caprese salad. I also love this tomato sauce on grilled chicken. And on grilled bread as bruschetta!!!

This recipe is sort of thrown together so there will be a lot of tasting as you go along, depending on the tomatoes you may or may not need extra salt and pepper. I made this for my grandson so I left out the crushed red pepper, if I were making for us I would have thrown in at least 1/2 teaspoon.  Crushed red pepper can always be added at the table.

*This should make about 6 servings, you can adjust to any amount you need, I used 1/2 for the 2 of us .

Ingredients:

app. 3 pints of grape tomatoes ( the little ones), you can use any beautiful fresh tomatoes especially in the summer months.  You’ll just have to eyeball the amounts of tomatoes. I like the pieces cut small but you can just roughly chop up larger tomatoes. If you’re using cherry or plum tomatoes you can cut in half or quarters. It’s not an exact science.

1/2 cup olive oil

app. 4 cloves garlic , minced ( you can adjust this to your liking, a little more or less)

app. 18 basil leaves plus extra for serving. Nothing beats the taste of fresh basil in this so don’t omit. You’ll want extra for serving. I roll up the basil and use a kitchen shear to slice it.

*this is optional –1/2 teaspoon of crushed red pepper–we love it but adjust to your liking or just serve on the table

Kosher Salt–app. 1 teaspoon and then you’ll taste for more

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper–again you’ll have to taste and adjust to your own liking

1 pound pasta of your liking , I like a thin spaghetti best with this sauce. Angel Hair, Cappelini, any of these.

1 cup Fresh Grated Parmesan Cheese, plus extra for serving.

Directions:

Combine the tomatoes, 1/2 cup olive oil, garlic, basil leaves, red pepper, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and just let it sit out on the countertop . The longer it sits the better, at least 2 hours to macerate and 4 hours would be ideal.

Just before you are ready to serve, cook pasta. Cook al dente according to the box directions. Angel Hair cooks up in under 5 minutes.

Drain the pasta and add to the bowl with the tomatoes. Add in 1 cup of parmesan cheese and some more fresh basil if you’d like and toss well. Serve in big bowls with extra cheese on the side . Cheese will melt, so keep giving it some good tosses to integrate tomatoes and sauce.

Yum!

Sheet Pan Shrimp

Oh wow! I am so very into all my sheet pan meals. This one was particularly simple to prepare once you have the shrimp prepped. I really kind of just winged it. You can roast some broccoli separately as it would need a little more time to cook.  I served with some rice and a salad and that was it. No kidding around this meal took less than 1/2 hour from oven to table. Of course it is super easy if your fish store can prepare your shrimp. Joel does all the shrimp prep around here and boy am I happy he does. If you call your fish store ahead they will peel and de-vein the shrimp for you.

Enjoy this super easy light dinner.

This recipe will serve 4 people.

Ingredients:

1 1/2 lb. peeled and deveined shrimp. You can leave the tails on if you’d like but I didn’t. I used rather large shrimp. Under 10–Mexican White Shrimp.

2 cups cherry tomatoes

2 nice sized garlic cloves, minced

app. 2 – 3 Tablespoons Olive Oil

Kosher Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper

*1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper–if you like the heat. Totally optional

1/2 lemon

*some steamed spinach would also be perfect!

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

I put shrimp, cherry tomatoes and garlic in a large bowl, drizzled 2-3 Tbsp. of Olive Oil over it added app. 1 teaspoon Kosher Salt and some grinds on the pepper mill. You may want to use more or less salt depending on your particular taste. I also sprinkled some crushed red pepper in –app. 1/2 teaspoon. Mix it up with a large spoon and if it looks like a light glaze of oil and everything is covered with the oil –you’re good. I used between 2 and 3 tablespoons of olive oil. You’ll have to eyeball it to be sure. One large sheetpan should do it. I sprayed sheet pan with cooking spray or you can use parchment paper for even quicker clean up . Spread out on sheet pan and that’s it.

Roast until the shrimp are opaque , start to curl up and turn pink,  and tomatoes start to burst. I cooked for 15 minutes, but I had very large shrimp. You’ll have to adjust time for the size of your shrimp. Smaller shrimp could take 10-12 minutes. You can always cut into the middle of a shrimp to be sure it’s done.

Finish with a squeeze of some fresh lemon, app. 1/2 lemon.

Serve with rice , pasta or just alone. Add a nice green veggie alongside and you’re good to go.

Say Thank You for this delicious and easy recipe!

 

 

 

Blackberry Clafouti (Blackberry Cake)–Simple and Easy to make

I made this cake because I love blackberries and I had all the ingredients in my house. If you like blackberries, this is a light cake which will be perfect for dessert and not too heavy at all.  Clafouti is actually french for a cake made with cherries. If it’s made with blackberries or other berries it is called a Flaugnarde, which sounds super fancy and difficult to make and this is anything but that so we’ll just call it Clafouti! We aren’t going to get too technical here and I hope I don’t offend the French chefs out there. This is pretty much the same as the cherry Clafouti which I plan on baking soon and will post that once I’ve cooked that, but we have to wait for the cherries to be super ripe.  This cake is so very easy to make, requires no fancy equipment, and you can whisk ingredients in one bowl. Just use a pie baking dish to bake in. I had a glass dish and am happy that I did, because I could see the blackberries in the cake. This cake would be a most amazing breakfast type of cake–not too thick, but sort of like a blackberry muffin flattened out. Blackberries are so plump and delicious right now, you gotta cook this as soon as possible.

*In order for the blackberries not to sink in cake, I made sure they were dry after rinsing and then I put in a bowl with some flour and coated the berries in flour before adding them , not too heavily floured just a dusting.  It came out perfectly. I have made it where I forgot to dust with flour and they did sink. It didn’t look as pretty but it tasted just fine.

Ingredients: 

1 stick unsalted butter

1 cup sugar plus 1/4 cup of sugar for top of cake

1 cup Self-Rising Flour  Presto), sifted

1 cup whole milk

2 cups blackberries, fresh or frozen (I used fresh)

* A little extra flour for dusting the blackberries before baking with them (see note)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. I sprayed the baking dish with baking spray but you can also butter it.

Rinse and pat dry the blackberries. Melt the butter in microwave. Pour 1 cup sugar and flour into a mixing bowl. Slowly whisk in the milk and mix well. Then pour in the melted butter and whisk it all together well.

Dust blackberries with a little bit of flour and mix well. Pour the batter into the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle blackberries over the top of the batter, distributing evenly.  Sprinkle 1/4 cup sugar over the top.

Bake in the oven at 350 degrees for about 1 hour or until golden.  Yum!

Farro Salad

I made this last night combining my recipe which is on my blog “Summer Salad-Farm Fresh Farro” and Charlie Bird’s Famous Farro Salad. My blog post was from a few years ago long before I ever saw Charlie Birds version.  Please feel free to add veggies at your own discretion. It’s a loose recipe but this is what I did. This would make a great addition to any BBQ and perfect for Fathers Day 2017.

Special thanks to Charlie Bird’s Farro Salad @nytimes cooking site by Melissa Clark

cooking@nytimes.com – one of the best cooking sites I know

Ingredients:

1 cup Farro

1 cup apple cider

2 cups of water

2 teaspoons kosher salt, and more to your own liking

2 bay leaves

8 Tablespoons extra -virgin olive oil

2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice- I used 1 large lemon

app. 1/2 cup shaved Parmesan Cheese , I used a vegetable peeler but I do know you can buy Parmesan Cheese shaved this way ( time and mess saver)

app. 1/2 cup shelled Pistachios–I used salted pistachios and chopped them myself. You can use raw pistachios but they’re a tad tasteless.

app. 2 cups Arugula

app. 1 cup torn Basil Leaves

app. 1 cup Mint leaves-cut up into smaller pieces

2 large radishes sliced thinly or rough chopped

Directions:

Farro:

In a medium saucepan, bring farro,  apple cider, salt , and 2 cups of water to a simmer. Simmer until farro is tender and liquid evaporates, about 30 minutes. If farro is cooked but there is still water I put in a colander/strainer and leave it till it cools down. If on the other hand the water evaporates before the farro is done, you’ll have to add a little more water. You can always strain it so no worries–but don’t overcook. Let farro cool down and discard the 2 bay leaves.

Salad:

In a salad bowl (large enough to fold in arugula and mix) whisk together the olive oil and lemon juice, I use a wire whisk, it’s an amazing kitchen tool. Add the cooled down farro, parmesan cheese and chopped pistachio nuts, mix well.

This salad base will sit for a few hours at room temperature. I made it that afternoon for that evening and never put it in fridge. Salad is always best at room temperature so if you do refrigerate, just bring to room temperature before serving.

Just before serving, fold in the arugula, herbs, radishes and taste for salt. If not salty enough sprinkle a little flaky sea salt or kosher salt. You’ll thank me for this recipe.IMG_1779IMG_1780

 

 

 

Lemon Marinade (perfect for Chicken Breasts on Grill)

Ingredients:

3/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (4 – 5 small lemons) (2-3 large)

3/4 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil

2 Tsp. Kosher salt

Freshly Ground Black Pepper

1/2 teaspoon dry thyme

I use a large measuring cup to put all the ingredients into and use a small whisk to combine.

2 lbs Chicken Breasts (I prefer not too thick. Thin ones are good and are usually available. If not, ask the butcher to pound them.)

Let chicken sit in marinade overnight . I use a large baggie and squish it around. The longer it sits, the better. Before I put it on the grill, I usually put it into a glass Pyrex (easier to put on grill from Pyrex than baggie) and when it’s in the Pyrex I lightly sprinkle it with a little kosher salt, you’ll need to do this for a bit more flavor.

Put chicken on the hot grill and cook. Don’t overcook. Turn them so you get nice grill marks. They cook rather quickly–a few minutes on each side–especially the thin ones. Cut into one of the pieces if you’re not sure. These have to be watched on the grill. The thin cutlets go quickly, but I really do prefer them .

When they’re finished, put them on a platter, add some lemon slices, and serve! You can garnish with a few sprigs of fresh thyme if you’d like.  These are awesome leftovers next day served on top of any salad.

*something I discovered not too long ago was a grill pan. If you don’t have access to a grill or it’s raining and you don’t want to be out there grilling. I bought a really nice one and you get beautiful grill marks and the food tastes really good. Something good and worthwhile to buy.

Cold Noodles with Sesame Sauce (Jewish Girls can cook Chinese Food too)

FullSizeRenderThis is one of my old tried and true recipes and also one of our family’s all time favorites.   I will be making this delicious side dish for our Father’s Day Barbecue.  Perfect for a large get together and totally tasty. There are a lot of ingredients but it is very easy to put together and it’s always a hit! I made the sauce a day ahead which I highly recommend doing, it gives flavors a chance to really come together.  I had all the ingredients in the house and day of I will cook the noodles and mix together. If making sauce ahead of time , take it out of refrigerator and let the sauce sit at room temperature before mixing with noodles. I used 1 teaspoon of cayenne, but because I wasn’t sure of everyone’s taste buds for hot and spicy I left out the chili oil. If you want it spicier you can always add some hot chili oil, or more cayenne pepper.  You can actually make the sauce a few days ahead of time. Enjoy this oldie but goodie. I have played around with the recipe a lot, and have found these ingredients work the best for me. I also like to put a little fresh cilantro on the side for those who love it ( like me) and don’t leave out the chopped peanuts they give it that extra yummy crunch. Enjoy!

Ingredients: 

1 lb. linguine or spaghetti ( or you can use Chinese egg noodles)

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

7 tablespoons Peanut Butter ( creamy ) by the way I always use the low-fat one, it’s perfectly fine

2/3 cup warm water

6 tablespoons soy sauce ( use low sodium)

2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar

2 tablespoons sesame oil

1/2 to 1 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper, or more to specific taste

1 tablespoon sugar

1 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh garlic

3 to 4 scallions , finely chopped

*1 sliced cucumber, peeled, seeded, and julienned (optional) but tasty and crunchy

*fresh cilantro chopped (optional)

*sprinkle of chopped peanuts ( optional) but extra added crunch if you have them on hand

*dash of hot chili oil ( to taste) I usually just throw in a dash of this.

Directions:

In a small mixing bowl, using a fork or a small wire whisk, beat the peanut butter together with the water until it is smooth. Add the soy sauce, vinegar, sesame oil, cayenne pepper, sugar, and salt. Beat till smooth. If you’re adding hot chili oil this is when you would add that.

Add the chopped garlic, and stir well. Because I was using it the next day, I left out scallions till I cooked pasta .

Cook pasta according to directions. Drain immediately and rinse under cold water, until noodles are cooled down sufficiently. Place noodles in a large bowl, drizzle with the 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil and toss well. Refrigerate noodles until you are ready to serve. About an hour or so before I am ready to serve, I pour sauce over noodles and mix well. Make sure sauce has been left out at room temperature for a while till it’s not too cold.  Add the scallions and cucumbers and mix well. Right before serving you can sprinkle the cilantro and chopped peanuts if you like. I pour about 2/3 of the sauce over noodles and mix well, adding more sauce as I feel necessary. I definitely didn’t use all of the sauce that I made, add slowly and taste as you go along.  Right before serving I usually add some more sauce, but leave it out at room temperature. This is a deadly go to leftover the next day.

Summer Corn Salad with Feta

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Sometimes I like to shake it up a little bit and that’s exactly what I did with this recipe . The funniest thing was that I made it to serve for a small dinner party and completely forgot about it and discovered it when I went to serve dessert!!!! How disappointed was I? it was very aggravating but I will make it again because I thought it came out delicious. This is what I did. You might want to check out my other wonderful corn salad which is titled Fresh Corn Salad it’s a little different and might be more to your liking. I like both just fine and I think you will too! There are so very many variations of corn salad out there and especially in the summer when the corn is so fresh and delicious.

Ingredients:

4 cups of fresh corn ( it’s so amazing in the summer) I actually used 6 ears of corn –boiled it for 3 mins and plunged into an ice bath to stop cooking. I did it the night before because it’s just easier that way

1/3 cup of fresh cilantro chopped–if you don’t like cilantro you can omit it, but it packs a  lots of flavor–just saying…..

3 Tablespoons Lime Juice –I used my juicer because this is a lot of squeezing. Or buy the fresh lime juice in those little green bottles. (see photo) but nothing beats fresh in my book

1- 2 teaspoons of kosher salt, I used 1 . Feta was plenty salty here. You might want to add more, you can taste as you go.

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 Tablespoons Olive Oil–Extra Virgin is the way to go

1 cup thinly sliced radishes — they are amazing this time of year but if you hate them you can substitute with a little red onion or scallion. I love radishes and I love the pop of color and crunch they provide

1 cup cherry tomatoes–sliced in 1/2 or into 1/4’s

1/2 cup crumbled Feta— I used a 6oz. container

Directions:

Cut corn off cobs–I know it’s work but it’s worth it and mix the corn with all ingredients adding cheese last. Yum!!! refrigerate and take out before you’re eating and let sit at room temperature.  I put salad together early in the morning and refrigerated all day. You can make it and serve it right away  but it will be better after flavors marinate a bit. I still cannot believe that I forgot to put this wonderful side dish out!!!!!!! It happens to the best of us.

Enjoy!

 

Champagne Vinaigrete and Kale/Brussels Salad

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Colorado Kitchen

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Dressed Salad

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Ingredients

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View from Deck

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Joel’s Salad with lots of Parmesan Cheese–hey he ate it!

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This Champagne Vinaigrette appeared on my blog back in 2012. It’s really perfect on any kind of greens and this is the salad that I made along with it. I love Kale but I don’t like feeling like I’m eating the front lawn. I like my kale very finely chopped and massaged with dressing. I use my food processor to chop the kale and I dress the salad ahead of eating it and let it sit for a while so that the kale can absorb as much of the dressing as possible. This salad was really delicious and I know this is almost impossible to believe but I got Joel to eat some of it! The way I did that was to add a lot of parmesan cheese to his plate and he ate it. I also threw in a picture of my kitchen and a picture of the view from one of our decks . Enjoy this dressing it is perfection in a bottle and good on almost anything you put it on. I will be making this salad for Father’s Day this year–it’s a winner.

Champagne Vinaigrette:

1 tablespoon Dijon Mustard

1 teaspoon whole grain mustard (Maille makes a wonderful mustard)

1/3 cup Champagne Vinegar

1 tablespoon Rice Wine Vinegar

1 teaspoon Honey

3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

kosher salt to taste app. 1/4 teaspoon to start

freshly ground black pepper , a few grinds of the mill to taste

Ingredients for the Salad:

1 bunch of Kale or a bag of washed and chopped kale , baby kale is great as well

1/2 lb. of Brussels Sprouts, washed and cut thinly–now you can buy brussels already sliced which makes prep super fast and easy!!!

*this is optional but it adds pretty color and some more crunch. 1/2 small head radicchio, cored and thinly sliced

1/2 cup of Grated Parmesan or Shaved Parmesan

1/2 cup of dried fruit, I used dried craisins, but raisins, cherries, any of them will do

1/2 cup pignoli nuts, I roast them in the oven for about 4 minutes till they get toasty. ( in oven at 350 degrees for about 4 mins.)

*add any seasonal fruits or vegetables or protein you may like,  this is just a basic salad idea.

Directions:

Using my blender I threw all vinaigrette ingredients  except for the olive oil which I slowly streamed in through the top of blender until dressing emulsified. Taste for Salt and Pepper and you’re good to go.

Wash and Dry the Kale, remove the stems and ribs and just use the leaves. Even better you can buy triple washed kale already chopped. I still put that through my processor because it’s not chopped enough for me.

In the food processor I chopped up kale slowly, you don’t want to over chop the kale either. As soon as it starts to break down I stopped and removed it and added more.  I do it in sections till it’s all chopped.

Slice Brussels very thinly into slices , they will fall apart as you slice and mix them into salad.  Add Brussels to Kale with all other salad ingredients except for Parmesan Cheese. I added cheese when I was ready to serve to individual plates.

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Raw Chopped Salad pre dressing

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Sesame Cukes

A very big thank you goes out to Jessica Seinfeld and her new cook book “Food Swings”.  Thoroughly enjoying this book and trying to cook my way through it. The other night I made a delicious simple salmon and wanted a nice light “virtuous” accompaniment to go with it.

Well here it is for all you gluten-free, dairy free and light eaters . Nothing difficult here and you can do it in 10 minutes. Of course it tastes best after it sits for a while but you can prepare and let sit for an hour or so.

Thanks again to Jessica Seinfeld and Food Swings cookbook which is available wherever great books are sold.

Ingredients:

1 English Cucumber, thinly sliced

1 Tbsp. Sesame Seeds – available in the spice department

1/2 to 1 Jalapeno Pepper-seeded and thinly sliced or diced–I always suggest wearing gloves to seed and cut up Jalapeno to avoid any problems with those jalapeno seeds.

2 Tbsp. Fresh Lemon Juice

1 Tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1/4 -1/2 Tsp. Kosher Salt-Taste after 1/4 , I added a little more

1 Tablespoon chopped fresh dill–I didn’t have in the house but next time I will add because I love dill and it will add a delicious fresh layer of flavor. If you don’t like dill you can omit.

Directions:

Put the sesame seeds in a small dry skillet over medium heat. Cook , tossing for about 3 minutes, until toasted. Let cool.

In a medium bowl, combine the cukes, jalapeno, lemon juice, oil and kosher salt. Stir in the dill and sesame seeds.

*little note on the salt– I started with 1/4 tsp. and after all was said and done added another 1/4 tsp. This is completely up to the cook depending on how much you like salt .