Sunday, September 20, 2009

Bearnaise Chicken and Rice Pilaf

I love bearnaise sauce, but after a long day at work, the last thing I want to do is make it from scratch.  So I buy the powdered stuff and doctor it up.  Pour over chicken and some rice a roni, and you have a great meal in under 45 minutes.

To make the chicken and bearnaise:

4 chicken breasts (I use boneless skinless)
1 pkg. bearnaise sauce
1 stick unsalted butter
1 shallot, diced
1/4 c. white wine
1 1/2 c. milk
1 tsp. dijon mustard
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 375

In an oven proof dish, place chicken breasts and season with salt and pepper

In a sauce pan over medium heat, melt butter.  Once butter is melted, add shallots and saute until soft.  About 3 minutes.  Add the bearnaise sauce mixture and cook for about 1 minute.  Add wine and stir constantly until well absorbed, you don't want to break the sauce.  Add milk and mustard and stir constantly, reduce to simmer and cook for about 5 minutes until nice and thick.  Pour over chicken and cook in oven for about 30 minutes until chicken is done. 

To Make the Rice:
1 pkg rice a roni rice pilaf
1/2 package cremini mushrooms, sliced
1 tsp. thyme
1/2 c. white wine
1 tbl butter or olive oil
1 1/2 c. chicken broth

melt butter or oil and saute mushrooms with thyme.  Cook until softened, about 5 minutes.  Add salt and pepper and toss in the rice to get in browned.  About 2 minutes.  Add the wine and season packet from box.  Bring to a boil and reduce wine by 1/2.  Add broth and bring to a boil.  Stir and cover and reduce heat.  Rice takes about 20 minutes.

Remove chicken from the oven and let sit for a few minutes.  When you plate use some of the sauce to cover your chicken and rice.  

Serve along side your favorite veggies or a salad.  Viola, french done fast!

A Classic: Beef Stroganoff

This is one of those soulful dishes that I crave when the weather starts to turn colder.  Hot and delicious this dish will warm your soul!

2 rib eye or filet mignon steaks cut into a large dice
1 1/2 pkgs. of sliced cremini mushrooms
1 sprig fresh thyme
1 shallot, diced
1/2 c. half--n-half
1 c. beef stock
1/2 c. cognac
2 tbl. fresh dill
1 1/2 tbl. dijon mustard
2 tbl. flour
1/2 tsp. paprika
1 lb. egg noodles
olive oil
salt and pepper

In a saute pan over medium heat do a three count of olive oil and heat.  Salt and pepper the meat and brown on all sides being careful not to crowd the pan.  You want to sear the meat not sweat it.  Once the meat is seared, remove from pan and save.

Place pan back on the heat, add shallots, fresh thyme and mushrooms and saute.  Add salt and pepper.  Once the mushrooms have given off about 2 tbl. of water, dust with flour and cook for a minute to get out the flour taste.  Add cognac and stir until incorporated and add beef stock.  Let bubble and remove thyme stem. Add the dijon mustard, paprika, half n half and beef into the pan.  Check for seasoning.

Boil the water and add salt to boiling water.  Cook noodles until al dente and drain.  Add back to pot and add a few tablespoons of butter or olive oil to keep noodles from separating and add salt and pepper to taste. 

At the last moment add the fresh dill to the sauce.

Spoon noodles into a bowl and top with the sauce. 

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

A Classic: Italian Wedding Soup

I originally saw this recipe on food network.  Although it was called chicken noodle soup.  I switched it up a little and now call it my version of Italian Wedding soup!  It's hearty, satisfying and so easy to make.  The secret is letting the broth cook and develop its flavor before adding the tortellini.  
To make the meatballs:
1 pkg. of chicken sausage with cheese and tomato (I get it at Trader Joe's)
olive oil, salt, pepper
1 egg
3 cloves garlic
1/2 c. bread crumbs (eyeball it)
1/4 c. fresh parsley
3 tbl. romano cheese
3 tbl. parmesan cheese
take sausage from casing and crumble into food processor along with all the other ingredients and pulse until combined.  
In a non stick pan, heat up olive oil and butter and using a small ice-cream scoop make mini meatballs and add to pan.  brown on all sides.  Set aside.
To Make the soup:
2 celery stalks, chopped (I like the hearts and use the celery leaves)
2 carrots, chopped
1 onion, diced
4 cloves of garlic, minced
3 sprigs of fresh parsley
1 bay leaf
4 sprigs fresh thyme
1 sprig fresh oregano
red pepper flake
2 1/2 boxes low sodium chicken stock
salt, pepper, olive oil
1 1/2 pkgs. cheese tortellini
chopped fresh parsley for garnish
freshly grated parmesan cheese
1 slice of parmesan cheese rind
3-4 whole peppercorns
1/2 c. chardonnay
In a deep soup pan combine the celery, carrots, onion and garlic and saute until softened.  About 5 minutes.  Add pepper flakes, bay, sprigs of parsley, thyme, oregano and peppercorns and saute about 2 minutes further.
Add chardonnay and let reduce until all the liquid is absorbed.  Add the stock and cheese rind and season with salt and pepper to taste.  Once the soup base has come to a boil, add the reserved meatballs.  Reduce heat and cover.  Let simmer for about 1-2 hours.  
Once the soup has fully developed its flavor check for seasoning and adjust as neccessary.  
Discard all the stems.
Add the tortellini to the soup and turn off heat.  You don't want to overcook the noodles.  It should only take about 4 minutes.  
Add the fresh, minced parsley to the soup and serve topped with freshly grated parmesan and pepper. 

Linguini With Clams

I absolutely love clams.  When I was a kid, I would order buckets of these succulent delicacies and eat them all by myself.  Now, my hunger for these have yet to subside.  This is so easy to make and everyone will think you are a gourmet chef!

2 lbs manilla clams
3 bottles clam juice
1-2c. chardonnay
1 onion, diced
8 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 c. fresh parsley, chopped
red pepper flake to taste
fresh basil, julienned
1 lb. linguini cooked, al dente
garlic bread for dunking
salt, pepper and olive oil
butter to finish

When you bring your clams home from the fish monger, soak them in cold water with about 3 tbl. flour.  The clams will eat the flour and spit out the sand.  Make sure to drain!  Store clams in a bowl on top of ice.  Make sure you use the clams the same day you bring them home for optimum freshness.

In a saute pan over medium heat saute the onion, garlic, red pepper flake until nice and soft.  About 8 minutes.  Add the chardonnay to the pan, and reduce by half.  Add the clam juice and let simmer about 15-20 minutes.  You want a nice, flavorful broth. 

Cook linguini according to package instructions.  I like my pasta al dente.

Add the clams to the bubbling broth and cover for about 6 minutes.  After six minutes check the lid and see if they have opened,  be careful because you want them to just open so you have a succulent clam.  You WILL get rubbery clams if you overcook them.

Discard any clams that have not opened once the majority have opened.  Finish with butter and fresh herbs. 

Add sauce to pasta and toss with tons of parmesan cheese. 

Oh man, so good!!!


This is a simple rub that you can use for ribs, chicken or steak.  I make a lot so that I can use it on a few different things.  It's sweet, yet spicy.  Just like me...
1 1/2 tbl. salt
1 tbl. pepper
2 tbl. brown sugar
1 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. mustard powder
1 tbl. chili powder
1/2 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. onion powder
1/2 garlic powder
1 tsp. emeril's essence
1 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
Mix all ingredients in a small bowl and liberally rub all over desired meats.  Prepared mix will stay fresh for about a week or so