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Saturday, February 2, 2008

Christen's Chicken in a Garlic, Shallot and Wine Reduction

This is a personal creation based upon several non-related dishes I have prepared prior.....

Basically it is Chicken served in a garlic and shallot white wine reduction with sour cream and paprika tossed with Linguini

Trust me that if you make this, you will eat the entire thing!

Here we go...

To start:

3 boneless chicken breasts
two tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper
flour

1 tablespoon butter
1 shallot diced
1/2 yellow onion diced
1 cup of mushrooms finely sliced
6 cloves of garlic, chopped finely

1/3 cup white wine

1 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup finely chopped parsley
1 1/2 cups sour cream
1-2 tablespoons paprika

14-16 oz. of linguini  (I used basil/red pepper linguini)

Put chicken breasts in a ziplock bag and, using a meat mallet, vent your day's frustrations until the breasts are flattened.

season the breasts with a bit of salt and pepper and dredge in flour.
In a dutch over (spaghetti pot), heat the olive oil and add the chicken.
Cook on medium high heat until chicken until juices run clear and coat has a nice golden brown.
Remove chicken to a plate and chop into small chunks.  (chicken will likely shred nicely having been tenderized prior)

To the pot, add butter, shallot, garlic, onion and mushrooms

Reduce heat to medium and cook until onions have become translucent in color

Add white wine, increase heat to boil off alcohol and to reduce the sauce.

Add chicken back to the pot and incorporate for one minute more.

Add chicken broth and allow to return to boil, then reduce heat to medium.

Add parsley and cook for another 2-3 minutes

Add sour cream and reduce heat to medium low.

Add paprika and incorporate the mixture by stirring.

Cover and reduce to low.  Allow to simmer for about 10 minutes or longer, stirring occasionally.

Add noodles and stir in.

Allow to simmer for about 10 minutes on very low.

Optional:  I added about 2 Tablespoons of the brine juice from a package of Kalamata Olives to the mix which added a salty zing which rounded this out nicely.

Serve.....

Chicken Fiesta Soup

A creamy base with chunks of chicken, vegetables and spices, guaranteed as a cold buster.... Eats like an entire meal and very satisfying on a cold winters day... or a day when one may have a winter's cold.....

2-3 Chicken Breasts - cut into small pieces
6 cloves of garlic
1/2 of a red, yellow and green pepper each, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
1 cup of mushrooms, chopped
Pinch of salt and pepper
4 cups of chicken broth (low sodium better... salt is in the canned items following)
1 cup carrots sliced finely
3 stalks of celery sliced finely
2 scallions, chopped
1 tomato chopped finely
1 can of diced tomatoes with chilis
sprinkling of Onion Powder
1 tsp Curry Powder (or cumin works just as well)
1 can of black beans, drained
1 can of chili beans, drained
1 cup of lowfat sour cream
small amount of flour
1 small bundle of Soba noodles
Freshly grated Parmesan Cheese

1) Precook Soba noodles as per packaging, drain and set aside

2)  Heat a large pot (dutch oven) with a coating of olive oil.  While oil is heating, crush garlic into oil and stir until garlic just starts to toast.  Add chicken to the pot.   Add onion, mushrooms and peppers and stir on medium heat until onions are nearly translucent.

3)  Add diced tomatoes with chilis, a sprinkling of onion powder and the curry (or cumin).

4)  Pour in 4 cups of low sodium chicken broth.  Add to this, the celery, carrots, scallions and chopped tomato.

5)  Add the black beans and the chili beans and continue to boil.

6) Reduce heat to medium and add the sour cream.  Mix this all in until soup is consistent in color and thickness.

7)  Slowly whisk in several tablespoons of flour as needed or desired to thicken soup to desired consistency. Take care to not over-thicken as the egg noodles will absorb an abundance of the liquid and flavor.

8)  Add in the noodles and stir.  Cover and let the whole thing simmer on low for as long as you can hold off the urge to eat this (not long for us as it turns out).

9)  Serve with freshly grated Parmesan Cheese (not the stuff in the shaker puhlease!)




Christen's Chicken Fiesta Soup
Christen's Chicken Fiesta Soup
Pineapple Rum Cake


Ingredients

Topping:

Pineapple Rings (I like to use cut and core my own from a fresh pineapple)
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup unsalted butter

Cake:

1/4 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup regular sugar
1 egg (or equivalent egg substitute product)
1 tsp. vanilla
1/8 cup Vanilla Greek Yogurt
1/4 cup light sour cream
1/4 cup light rum
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda


Preheat oven to 390 degrees F.
Place 1/4 cup butter (half of a stick) into a 8" square non-stick pan and insert into preheating oven
You can move on to assemble the cake now.... but remember to remove the pan just as the butter all melts.
Remove pan from oven and add brown sugar.  Mix and spread to coat evenly, the entire base of the pan.

Assemble pineapple slices by laying them to cover the entire bottom.

For the cake, melt butter (I place the other half stick of butter in the mixing bowl and microwave it)
Add the sugar and mix.
Add the egg and the vanilla and mix
Add the yogurt and sour cream and mix
Add the rum and mix
Add the flour, baking powder and baking soda and mix until smooth and lump free.

Pour the cake mixture (it will be thick) into the cake pan.  use a spatula to gently move the batter around
making sure that all the corners are covered and the layer is even.

Place in oven for 27-30 minutes or until lightly browned on top and a cake tester comes out nearly dry.

Remove from oven and place to cool undisturbed for 10 minutes.

Use a knife to score around the edges between the cake and the pan to ensure that the edges are not sticking.

Invert the pan quickly onto a serving dish, wait about 15 seconds and tap on the bottom of the pan to ensure the cake is released as you pull the pan up and away from the cake.

Let fully cool and harden for at least an hour before serving.

Enjoy!

The finished product....out of the oven and cooling!

Italian Ciabatta Bread

This recipe is designed for use with breadmakers but may also successfully be created manually as well.

To the pan of your breadmaker, add the following ingredients in the order outlined below:

1 1/2 cups warm (but not hot) water
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon white sugar
1 Tablesppon Olive Oil
3 1/4 cups bread flour (may substitute 1/4 cup wheat flour to add more body)
1 1/2 teaspoons bread machine yeast
1 tablespoon Italian Seasoning
2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 teaspoon of finely crushed rosemary

Add all ingredients and set breadmaker to "dough cycle".  When kneading stops, wait 15 minutes and then remove dough.  Place dough on cookie tray that has been lined with parchment paper and form into two long loaves.  You may need some additional  flour to get the dough from sticking to your hands or to form the loaves but try not to use too much.

Cover the loaves and let them rise for about 40 minutes in a warm area or until the size has approximately doubled.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees

Rub olive oil onto the top of both loaves.  This will lock in the moisture and help the top of the loaves to brown nicely.  Create a dimple running the length of each loaf and insert half pepperoni slices along the entire length.  Add your favorite shredded or crumbled soft cheese to the loaves.  I like to use "4 Cheese Mexican" and Feta.  Other toppings which work well include Kalamata Olives, sliced thinly.  Sprinkle additional Italian Seasoning and garlic powder to taste and bake for 18-22 minutes.  Reserve the last minute of baking to do a low broil for one minute to add an extra crispness to the cheese and crust....but don't over do it!!!

Allow to cool and harden in an open air environment before slicing.
Two Loaves of Italian Ciabatta Bread topped with Pepperoni, Kalamata Olives and Feta
Two Loaves of Italian Ciabatta Bread topped with Pepperoni, Kalamata Olives and Feta

Potato Moussaka

Reference for those who may not know what Moussaka is....

Moussaka is basically a lasagna, except that the name allows for this "lasagna" to be created in a variety of new and exciting ways.  It is basically a product of the Balkan states and Southeastern Europe.... with Greece being the well known centerpoint.  I grew up with many Greek Relatives and a household full of scents and smells of foods that took pretty much an entire day to assemble and food was ALWAYS a counterpoint of every family gathering.. There are Greek versions which utilize eggplant.....and, for those, like me who can tolerate eggplant but would prefer something else.... versions which use potato....  I offer this more obscure latter version for your consideration.... Please note... you can vary most of these ingredients, omit, add or do whatever you want.....and it can become your own personal creation..... like mine was with bacon!

Adaptations by:  Christen Bustani

**************************************************
****** Please share as you like!   ********
**************************************************

As usual.... most recipes from Greece and much of Europe and the Middle East take about a half a lifetime to create.... This is actually a LOT easier than traditional Moussaka to make..... so NO complaints.... and it beats the heck out of just having a bowl of Mac and Cheese so go try this!

OK....  Here we go.....

Ingredients:

  • 1 Large Onion
  • 2 Large Carrots
  • 3 Stalks of celery
  • 8-12 oz of mushrooms, chopped finely (optional)
  • 3-4 cloves of Garlic (more if you like....or less if you don't)
  • 2 Tablespoons of Butter (no margarine.... you can't brown veggies with margarine)
  • 2 Tablespoons of Olive Oil  (you can use Grape Seed oil as a good substititue...but nothing other than these)
  • 1.5 - 2 pounds of your favorite style sausages.   I used lowfat Italian Turken Sausages for mine.
  • A Package of bacon.  I used turkey bacon which was super low fat and lower cholesterol
  • 1 cup of tomato paste
  • 2 cups of Merlot Wine
  • A sprinkling of Thyme
  • 2-3 Bay Leaves
  • Pepper and optional salt for taste
  • 3 pounds of potatoes..... more is better than less so make enough!


Custard Layer:

  • 3 large eggs (or 3/4 cup of no cholesterol egg beaters....which is what I used)
  • About a 1/2 cup or even a bit more of your favorite cheeses, shredded....  ( I like to combine fat free Feta, 4 cheese Mexican and some sharp Cheddar to make this mix)
  • about a half cup of either.... milk and cream mixed, lowfat milk, sour cream or sour cream and yogurt.  You can go with whatever you want here as it becomes more creamy with the increased fat.  I went with non-fat milk alone.... healthier but not as rich.
  • 1/4 cup of Panko bread crumbs.


Chop up the carrots, celery, onions and the garlic into fine pieces.  Melt the butter and olive oil in a large dutch oven and add them vegetables over a medium heat (not too high!!!).  The object here is to allow the vegetables to cook and render their flavor, but not too quickly as they won't release their full potential if you rush..... (yes I've tried!)  Keep things covered when not stirring through this and the next few steps.....

Add a spritz of pepper and optional salt to the mix and stir regularly for about 15 minutes as this sautes.

Vegetables will be about ready in 15 minutes when they lose their color and become somewhat transparent..  Slice up the sausages into tiny bits and do the same with the bacon.  smaller is better here to mix those flavors.  Add the meat to the mix.

Add the mushrooms to the mix right after you add the meat.

Stir this regularly and continue to cook for another 10-12 minutes

Add the tomato paste and stir that in.  Cook for another 5 minutes

Add your red wine and stir that well, being sure to scrape up what goodness may lay on the bottom of the pan - cook and stir this for another 5 minutes.

Now add your thyme and bay leaves to the mix, up the temperature to a boil.  Once boiling, turn down the heat to VERY low and simmer this whole thing uncovered for the next 1.5 hours.  Stir it occasionally to make sure nothing is sticking.

While this sauce (which is OUT of this world) is going, make your potatoes.

Peel and slice thinly all those potatoes.  You'll feel like you are doing KP duty for the mess hall but this needs to be done.

Add the sliced potatoes to a pot of water and bring to a boil.  Cook at a boil for about 4 minutes and then rinse these under cold water to drain the starch and to stop the cooking process cold.  You don't want your potatoes fully cooked.... They will do that later in the oven when you assemble this beast!

When your sauce has boiled down and thickened, you KNOW it's time to move on.  Taste it to be sure and likely you won't be able to stop tasting it..... (my problem apparently)

Grease a Lasagna pan (mine was about 9"x13" but make sure it is deep enough for the layers we are about to create!  I used a bit of olive oil rubbed into the glass dish for mine.

Place down a layer of potatoes (make sure your bottom layer covers the bottom of the pan, then a layer of sauce.

Optional.... You may want to lay out a layer of shredded cheese on top of the sauce.

Lay down another layer of potatos and then sauce

Add one more layer of potatoes to the top.

Now it's time to make the top level of sauce!

Mix the eggs (or egg beaters) with the cheese and the Panko and the liquid (milk, sour cream, cream, yogurt) and then drizzle this all over the top for the crust.  It will harden into a layer of delicious goodness while it cooks!

Bake this at 375 degrees for about 50 minutes covered lightly with foil then remove the foil and broil under low broil for about 5 minutes.... but WATCH it so it gets nice and crispy to your liking and NOT burned.

Take this out of the oven and let it cool for at least a half hour.  Seriously, if you rush this part (like I have done), you will end up with a glob on your plate.  You really need to let this cool and harden and set up nicely.  It pays off.  Go do the dishes or something!

Enjoy..... Either you have completed your masterpiece or I have carpal tunnel from writing this up.... probably both.



Finished product!
Finished product!

Potato Moussaka

Reference for those who may not know what Moussaka is....

Moussaka is basically a lasagna, except that the name allows for this "lasagna" to be created in a variety of new and exciting ways.  It is basically a product of the Balkan states and Southeastern Europe.... with Greece being the well known centerpoint.  I grew up with many Greek Relatives and a household full of scents and smells of foods that took pretty much an entire day to assemble and food was ALWAYS a counterpoint of every family gathering.. There are Greek versions which utilize eggplant.....and, for those, like me who can tolerate eggplant but would prefer something else.... versions which use potato....  I offer this more obscure latter version for your consideration.... Please note... you can vary most of these ingredients, omit, add or do whatever you want.....and it can become your own personal creation..... like mine was with bacon!

Adaptations by:  Christen Bustani

**************************************************
****** Please share as you like!   ********
**************************************************

As usual.... most recipes from Greece and much of Europe and the Middle East take about a half a lifetime to create.... This is actually a LOT easier than traditional Moussaka to make..... so NO complaints.... and it beats the heck out of just having a bowl of Mac and Cheese so go try this!

OK....  Here we go.....

Ingredients:

  • 1 Large Onion
  • 2 Large Carrots
  • 3 Stalks of celery
  • 8-12 oz of mushrooms, chopped finely (optional)
  • 3-4 cloves of Garlic (more if you like....or less if you don't)
  • 2 Tablespoons of Butter (no margarine.... you can't brown veggies with margarine)
  • 2 Tablespoons of Olive Oil  (you can use Grape Seed oil as a good substititue...but nothing other than these)
  • 1.5 - 2 pounds of your favorite style sausages.   I used lowfat Italian Turken Sausages for mine.
  • A Package of bacon.  I used turkey bacon which was super low fat and lower cholesterol
  • 1 cup of tomato paste
  • 2 cups of Merlot Wine
  • A sprinkling of Thyme
  • 2-3 Bay Leaves
  • Pepper and optional salt for taste
  • 3 pounds of potatoes..... more is better than less so make enough!


Custard Layer:

  • 3 large eggs (or 3/4 cup of no cholesterol egg beaters....which is what I used)
  • About a 1/2 cup or even a bit more of your favorite cheeses, shredded....  ( I like to combine fat free Feta, 4 cheese Mexican and some sharp Cheddar to make this mix)
  • about a half cup of either.... milk and cream mixed, lowfat milk, sour cream or sour cream and yogurt.  You can go with whatever you want here as it becomes more creamy with the increased fat.  I went with non-fat milk alone.... healthier but not as rich.
  • 1/4 cup of Panko bread crumbs.


Chop up the carrots, celery, onions and the garlic into fine pieces.  Melt the butter and olive oil in a large dutch oven and add them vegetables over a medium heat (not too high!!!).  The object here is to allow the vegetables to cook and render their flavor, but not too quickly as they won't release their full potential if you rush..... (yes I've tried!)  Keep things covered when not stirring through this and the next few steps.....

Add a spritz of pepper and optional salt to the mix and stir regularly for about 15 minutes as this sautes.

Vegetables will be about ready in 15 minutes when they lose their color and become somewhat transparent..  Slice up the sausages into tiny bits and do the same with the bacon.  smaller is better here to mix those flavors.  Add the meat to the mix.

Add the mushrooms to the mix right after you add the meat.

Stir this regularly and continue to cook for another 10-12 minutes

Add the tomato paste and stir that in.  Cook for another 5 minutes

Add your red wine and stir that well, being sure to scrape up what goodness may lay on the bottom of the pan - cook and stir this for another 5 minutes.

Now add your thyme and bay leaves to the mix, up the temperature to a boil.  Once boiling, turn down the heat to VERY low and simmer this whole thing uncovered for the next 1.5 hours.  Stir it occasionally to make sure nothing is sticking.

While this sauce (which is OUT of this world) is going, make your potatoes.

Peel and slice thinly all those potatoes.  You'll feel like you are doing KP duty for the mess hall but this needs to be done.

Add the sliced potatoes to a pot of water and bring to a boil.  Cook at a boil for about 4 minutes and then rinse these under cold water to drain the starch and to stop the cooking process cold.  You don't want your potatoes fully cooked.... They will do that later in the oven when you assemble this beast!

When your sauce has boiled down and thickened, you KNOW it's time to move on.  Taste it to be sure and likely you won't be able to stop tasting it..... (my problem apparently)

Grease a Lasagna pan (mine was about 9"x13" but make sure it is deep enough for the layers we are about to create!  I used a bit of olive oil rubbed into the glass dish for mine.

Place down a layer of potatoes (make sure your bottom layer covers the bottom of the pan, then a layer of sauce.

Optional.... You may want to lay out a layer of shredded cheese on top of the sauce.

Lay down another layer of potatos and then sauce

Add one more layer of potatoes to the top.

Now it's time to make the top level of sauce!

Mix the eggs (or egg beaters) with the cheese and the Panko and the liquid (milk, sour cream, cream, yogurt) and then drizzle this all over the top for the crust.  It will harden into a layer of delicious goodness while it cooks!

Bake this at 375 degrees for about 50 minutes covered lightly with foil then remove the foil and broil under low broil for about 5 minutes.... but WATCH it so it gets nice and crispy to your liking and NOT burned.

Take this out of the oven and let it cool for at least a half hour.  Seriously, if you rush this part (like I have done), you will end up with a glob on your plate.  You really need to let this cool and harden and set up nicely.  It pays off.  Go do the dishes or something!

Enjoy..... Either you have completed your masterpiece or I have carpal tunnel from writing this up.... probably both.



Finished product!
Finished product!

Egg, Bacon and Veggie Bake


1.5 pounds of potatoes, peeled and sliced thinly
1/2 pound bacon     (I use low fat turkey bacon)
1 medium yellow summer squash sliced thinly
1 medium green zucchini sliced thinly
1 medium yellow or sweet onion - cut in half and then sliced into half rings
About 4 ounces of mushroom sliced
shredded cheese (I used a Mexican blend)
6 eggs       (I use no-fat and no cholesterol eggbeaters)
Spicy Wing Sauce
3 tablespoons roughly of Olive Oil or Grape Seed Oil


This recipe can be modified to suit tastes...... use this as a guideline going forward....

Add Olive Oil to a large skillet and heat.

Add the potato slices and onion and cook over medium heat  for 20 minutes, turning frequently.

Zucchini, Summer Squash, onions, mushrooms and bacon go in next.  Cook for 5 minutes longer.

Preheat Oven to 350 degress F.

Grease with a little Olive Oil, the bottom of a shallow glass casserole dish such as pictured.

Lay a coating of scrambled egg into the bottom of the dish and insert into oven for 10 minutes to firm it up.

Remove from oven and arrange half of the now relatively cool potato/veggie mixture into the dish

Add a layer of shredded cheese to cover and shake small amount of wing sauce over all.

Add rest of the potato/veggie mixture on top.

Pour rest of egg on top to cover.

Bake for 30 minutes or until done.

Let rest for at least 15 minutes after removal from oven.

Enjoy for breakfast or anytime.

 
The finished product..... straight out of the oven.