Chicken Bruschetta with Pasta – Gluten Free!!!

Hey guys. So one of my friends was going to come and hang out and offered to bring dinner tonight. I was going to take her up on it, when I totally felt like I needed to cook something. I told her to bring a salad and some red wine; I would take care of the rest. I had no idea what I wanted to make.

I had a day to myself… I went to Pilates, went to lunch, and got my hair done. Then I decided to go to Fresh Market to look around and decide once I got there.

I really wanted to make my Bruchetta Chicken with pasta and marinara. But my friend is gluten free, so I needed to first make sure I could find a decent gluten free pasta. Quinoa pasta is supposedly gluey, plus it cost like $8. Then I saw brown rice pasta. I thought I remembered Rachel Ray say she really liked this, plus it was on sale for $3ish. Score! I got chicken breasts, tomatoes, mozzarella, basil, anchovies (don’t balk yet!), and all the other ingredients for the sauce..

Bruchetta Marinara Sauce

Ingredients

2-3 anchovies
1/2 onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, crushed and minced
1/2 container mushrooms sliced and chopped
1 28 oz. can of crushed crushed tomatoes
1 28 oz. can of diced tomatoes
4 squirts of tomato paste
1/3 bottle of red wine; I used Cabernet
2 tablespoons of Worcestershire
2 pats of butter
3 tablespoons sugar.
3 tablespoons of Dried Italian Herb mixture
fresh basil crushed and chopped
1 bay leaf

Directions

Heat a large dutch oven on med-high heat with 1 tablespoon olive oil and 2-3 anchovies. I know some people are going to make the stink eye at my anchovies. Don’t ya’ll. One of the main ingredients in Worcestershire is anchovies! Worcestershire is a chef’s best secret ingredient. You eat it is Caesar Salad, Hamburgers, Meatloaf etc… Once those tiny fish hit the pan, they melt like butter. You will thank me. Please try them. If you want to try to make this, but don’t have anchovies, just add a couple more tablespoons of Worcestershire.

Add a bit more olive oil and your onions. Cook down for 2-3 minutes with a bit of salt and pepper. Add your Mushrooms and garlic. Cook for a few more minutes before adding your tomato paste. Mix that around for a few minutes. A deep tomato smell will fill the air after a couple of minutes. Then add in your wine and Worcestershire. Mix and reduce down for 5 minutes or so. Add your herbs, bay leaf, and sugar. Mix and Reduce to low. Cook for at least 1 hour…the longer the better.

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Bruchetta Chicken

4 Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts- season each side with salt and pepper.
Then, brown both sides of chicken in your cast iron skillet. Each side about 8-10 minutes. Put the pan in a 350 oven.

Cut a tomato and some mozzarella. Thinly slice some basil. I roll mine up then chop it up. Place these on top of your chicken in the oven. When you start to see your cheese melt a bit, turn on the broil. Cook until all the cheese is melted and browned on top.

I made the brown rice pasta according to the package. It still had a bit of a bite to it, so I added it the sauce. I mixed well. So yummy! I wouldn’t mind buying this pasta again for a gluten free friend =)

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Lizzie’s Legacy

Tue-149-LHey guys…

Not sure if all my followers know. We lost our sweet Lizzie this week. She has been suffering from Neuroblastoma, a childhood Cancer, for 5 years. Recently, she has been in bad shape and suffering. She went peacefully surrounded by her sisters and her daddy and me. We read her a book, gave her lots of kisses and hugs, and sent her off with a large celebration filled with hullahooping, bean bag tossing, arts and crafts, pictures, music, and of course, lots of food. Over 300 family and friends came and rejoiced in her honer. It was glorious and the perfect way to celebrate such an amazing girl who touched so many lives with her smile and bravery.

Not a lot of food will be posted here in the next few weeks.

Mario Batali says, “The best meal I’ve ever had is one some one else cooked.” I thank all those who have and will be bringing me dinners. You guys rock , and we can’t thank you enough.

If you feel inclined to help out in any way, please donate to a Children’s hospital, Ronald McDonald house, or any charity supporting sick kiddos.

Love you all so much.

Lazy Baker- 3 Ingredient Cookies Using Boxed Cake Mix

The girls spied a cake box mix in the cabinet a few days ago. Really? Who bought that? Oh, yeah…that was me a few weeks ago when the girls asked me to help them make a pink cake. I caved in and bought it, but it has been hidden in a unorganized pantry this whole time. I guess once your pantry starts to empty out, things start appearing out of no where. Anyways, I remembered seeing this recipe on Pinterest for making cookies out of boxed cake mix. SO EASY!

Lazy Baker- 3 Ingredient Cookies Using Boxed Cake Mix

Ingredients- makes about 12 cookies

1 box strawberry cake mix (hence the pink)
2 eggs
1/3 cup vegetable oil

Directions

Preheat oven to 375.
Mix the ingredients together in a large bowl.
Use a small ice cream scoop or tablespoon to make round balls.
Bake on a cookie sheet (I used a silicon liner on mine) for 10-12 minutes
Take out and cool.
Decorate with icing and sprinkles.

Becca and Katie had so much fun helping making the cookies and decorating. Brutus thought he might get some leftovers. Not today, buddy!

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A Tale of Two Pastas- Vegetarian Edition

Hey guys! It has been a while. I trust everyone had a happy Thanksgiving? It was nice and relaxing here. It was pretty much the same…1. Turkey- this year I did a breast…014
here is where you can find the recipe. Delicious! http://whatsgabycooking.com/roasted-turkey-breast/ 2. Alton Brown’s Green Bean Casserole http://altonbrown.com/best-ever-green-bean-casserole-recipe/ 3. Bacon and Mushroom Stuffing, cranberries,and some other ideas for next year http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2013/11/12/dining/essential-thanksgiving.html?_r=0

Feeling like you need a break from all that comfort food? How about some lighter comfort food? Vegetarian Comfort Food in fact. Here are a couple I have made in the last few days trying to use up pasta and some leftover ingredients in my kitchen.

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Pasta Aglio E Olio

INGREDIENTS

1/2 box bow-tie pasta (usually spaghetti, but use what you have)
2 large or 3 small garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 teaspoons of chili pepper flakes
1/3 cup of extra-virgin olive oil
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly-ground black pepper
a bit of chopped fresh parsley
as much as you want of Parmesan Cheese, grated

DIRECTIONS

Cook pasta according to package minus 1 minute, until it is al dente.
Strain and place in a large serving dish.
Add minced garlic, chili pepper flakes, olive oil, salt, and pepper, and mix together well. Add parsley on top and
Serve warm or at room temperature.

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Antipasto Pasta

Ok, so this one is totally easy… I had some antipasto leftover from Thanksgiving… olives, artichokes, marinated mushrooms, roasted red peppers, garlic, marinated mozzarella balls, and feta all in olive oil. I added this to my remaining pasta and topped with more mozzarella. Perfection!

Chicken Pot Pie using leftovers…

It has been a bit since I have posted. Lots of repeat dinners and friends giving yummy food to our family. Recently we have gotten a KFC feast. Fried chicken and all the fixings? Can’t complain!!! Apparently everyone thinks we are a family of 12 instead of 5… no worries! Just gotta find something to do with the leftovers. Chicken Pot Pie to the rescue! Here is my crazy recipe…

Dice up and cook an onion, along with 2 diced carrots,celery,and 1 container of sliced mushrooms in 3 tablespoons of butter.
Stir the veggies around and cook them for 3 to 4 minutes, until they just start to soften.
Then throw in cooked KFC green beans, mashed potatoes, and 1/2 the gravy, and the chicken. I like to have a mix of white and dark meat shredded or cut into big chunks. I took the meat off the bone and took the skin off. If a little skin stays on, it will not hurt the mixture =) Sprinkle a little flour (2 tablespoons) all over the top. Then pour in 1/2 cup or so white wine…chicken broth if you are all out of broth… add 1 teaspoon of salt and pepper, turmeric… a bit of dried thyme and fresh chopped parsley (optional)
Add a splash of half-and-half or cream for a little creamy richness.
Finally, just let the mixture bubble up until it’s nice and thick; add in frozen peas and cook for 2 minutes. Then set it aside for a sec. (If it gets too thick, just splash in a little more wine or broth.)
Move mixture to a casserole/oven safe dish. Soak biscuits with remaining gravy then crumble on top. Cook at 350 for 20 minutes.
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Spaghetti and Meatballs

Hey guys! Happy Friday! Yesterday I ran to the store after work and picked up the ingredients for spaghetti and meatballs. Lizzie has been asking for this for a few days, so I figured I would honor her request. This was a pretty simple recipe. I usually just make them with just beef, but this time I spied some mild ground Italian sausage, so I thought I might change up my normal recipe and use 2 meats. Perfection! I hope you give it a try next time your family is craving meatballs. It is SO much better than those frozen ones. My family raved about them, and I got 5 sets of thumbs up for this meal!

Spaghetti and Meatballs

For the Meatballs-
1 pound ground sausage
1 pound ground beef
1 egg
1/2 cup Italian breadcrumbs (may need to add more in at the end if the mixture seems too wet)
about 2 teaspoons each of onion powder, garlic powder, fennel seeds, salt, and pepper
tablespoon or so of dried Italian Herbs or a good handful of fresh herbs
2 tablespoons worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup parmesan cheese

Mix all of the above ingredients. Do not overmix. Make into small-medium sized balls. Brown each side in a bit of oil in a large dutch oven. Take out. You will continue to let them cook in the sauce…

Easy Sauce (this makes tons of sauce…freeze the leftovers or use for a future meal)
1 chopped onion
3 cloves garlic, crushed and minced
A few good squirts of tomato paste
1 large can of tomato sauce
1 large can of diced tomatoes
1 large can of crushed tomatoes
1 cup red wine
A couple tablespoons of worcestershire
1 tablespoon of sugar
Any fresh or dried herbs you have- I added rosemary, thyme, oregano, and marjoram
You could even add in some chopped parsley if you have it.

Start by adding your chopped onion to the pan you cooked your meat in. Cook that for a a few minutes. Then add your garlic and tomato paste. Mix until combined, about 2 minutes. Then add in your wine. Scrape off all those brown pieces on the bottom of your pan. Add in all your tomatoes, worcestershire, sugar, and herbs. Mix well. Add your meatballs back in. Cook until meatballs have cooked through and your sauce is hot, about 2o-30 more minutes depending on the size of your meatballs. Perfect over spaghetti!

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Cool Fall Fruits- Pomegranates and Persimmons (plus an easy Balsamic Dressing)

If you ever wondered how you cut and eat a pomegranate, here is a helpful guide for you.
I cut the fruit in half down the middle. Then over a large bowl, I break apart the fruit with my fingers and begin to separate the seeds from the pith. It is actually quite easy and very therapeutic. You will be amazed how many little seeds are in a single fruit. Even Lizzie pitched in. She had a great time!
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Fuyu-Persimmon-A-Fruit-From-the-Gods

What is a persimmon? Well, it is an edible fruit that resembles a tomato and has very sweet flesh. I kind of think it tastes like a cross between a peach, apple, and tomato. So yummy! I saw some at the store and picked up a couple. I researched recipes and decided that I wanted to add one of mine to a salad. It was so yummy! I mixed a chopped salad with kale, radicchio, celery, mushrooms, beets, chickpeas, red pepper, and persimmons. I topped it with homemade balsamic dressing (recipe below).

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Balsamic Vinaigrette

Ingredients
1/4 cup Balsamic Vinegar
3 cloves crushed,chopped garlic
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
3/4 cup Olive Oil

Directions
In a bowl, whisk together the vinegar, garlic, salt, and pepper until salt is combined. Slowly whisk in the olive oil until well blended. I made mine in a mason jar for easy mixing.

Strip Steak with Thyme and Butter

Hey, ya’ll! So Friday was my birthday. I have had a great birthday weekend full of great family, friends, and food! Here is one way I spoiled myself this weekend…I bought some strip steak that was on sale. I thought of this recipe when I remembered I had some thyme already in my fridge. SO GOOD!!!!!

Ingredients

2 New York Stip Steaks
salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 tablespoons butter
3 thyme sprigs
2 cloves garlic, crushed

Directions

Try to let steaks stand 30 minutes at room temperature.
Sprinkle salt and pepper evenly over steaks. Heat a large cast-iron skillet over high heat. Add oil to pan and coat evenly.
Add steaks to pan; cook about 4 minutes on each side or until browned. Reduce heat to medium-low; add butter, thyme, and garlic to pan. Tilt pan a bit to you so butter collects; cook 1 1/2 minutes, basting steaks with butter constantly. Remove steaks from pan; cover loosely with foil. Let stand 10 minutes.

There may be a bit more butter left in the pan. You can use that to baste the steak even more when you are ready to serve.

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Easy Waffles

Sleep in, eat these waffles, and relax on the couch watching TV equals a perfect Sunday morning!

I doubled this recipe and now have plenty of waffles in the freezer for this week’s breakfast =)

Easy Waffles

Ingredients
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons sugar
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 cups of milk
2 eggs
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract

Directions

Heat up your waffle iron.
Whisk your eggs. Add the rest of your wet ingredients. Then gently combine and mix the wet and dry ingredients together. Do NOT over mix!!! Lumos are ok!
Spray your waffle iron with Pam or brush with oil.

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Pan Fried Tilapia

You have reached the Wednesday night stretch.  You have had a few easy nights for dinner. Maybe you used the crockpot. You found some pasta and sauce for a quick pasta dish. There is always the favorite taco or quesadilla. Now you need a fast idea. Almost to the weekend…almost to Chinese Takeout and pizza night. You need a quick run to the store for dinner. I propose fresh fish, salad/veggie, rice/couscous, white wine, and a nice loaf of bakery bread. 7 minute store run and you are golden. Under $30 for a dinner for five including a decent wine for mom. Score!

Pan Fried Tilapia

Ingredients
4-5 pieces tilapia (or any white fish… cod, mahi mahi, sole,etc.)
salt and pepper
i cup flour
2 eggs, whisked
1 cup breadcrumbs

Directions
Heat pan to med heat with vegetable or grapeseed oil (low smoking points)
FEB- Order to dunk your fish… salt and pepper each station
Coat each piece of fish in flour, eggs, and breadcrumbs
Place in oil about 6 minutes on the first side and 3 minutes on the second side
Golden brown yumminess should be present on both sides…

Only a chunk of one piece was leftover. I fed it to Brutus after the kitchen was cleaned. He lays perfectly still under the table during dinner and goes and lays down in his unlocked crate after dinner, so he deserved a bit of magic.

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