Thursday, April 11, 2013

Italian stuffed chicken

Italian Stuffed Chicken Breasts (Serves 4)

4 Boneless skinless chicken breasts - trimmed and butterflied
Salt and pepper
12 slices uncured pepperoni (or substitute any cured Italian meat)
4 slices provolone cheese
1 cup Italian breadcrumbs
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 14oz can crushed tomatoes
3 fresh basil leaves - thinly sliced

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Cover a baking sheet with foil and spray with non-stick spray.
Trim fat from chicken and butterfly by slicing about 2/3 of the way through the center of the chicken and laying flat.
Season inside of chicken with salt and pepper then lay 3 slices of pepperoni and 1 slice of cheese on the bottom of each breast.  Flip top back over and give a little squeeze to hold it together then place on baking sheet.
In a small bowl combine breadcrumbs, cheese and oil and stir to combine. 
Top each chicken breast with 1/4 of the breadcrumb mixture and pat down to compress.
Bake in pre-heated oven for 20 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink.
While chicken is cooking - Add crushed tomatoes and basil to a small pot and bring to heat through.

Once chicken is cooked spread 1/4 of the tomato sauce on each plate and top with the chicken.  Serve with buttered herb pasta and bread.


Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Navy bean soup

This soup tastes and looks like it cooked all day but really it is on the table in about 30 minutes with the help of canned (or jarred) navy beans.  Similar in ingredients to split pea soup I often make them at the same time since some people in our house don't like "green soup".  This one freezes great too!

Navy Bean and Ham Soup

2 Tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion - chopped (about 1 cup)
3 carrots - chopped (about 1 cup)
3 celery stalks - chopped (about 1 cup)
4 cups chicken stock
3 14 oz cans of navy beans - drained and rinsed and one can mashed
2 cups chopped ham
1 Tbsp granulated garlic
Salt and pepper

Heat oil in a heavy bottomed pan over medium heat then add in onion, carrot and celery and saute until softened.  About 5-7 minutes.
While the vegetables are cooking - drain and rinse the beans.  Empty one can into a bowl and mash fully using a fork or potato masher.  This helps to thicken the soup and give it the "cooked all day taste".
Carefully pour stock into the vegetable mixture, then add beans and mashed beans, ham, garlic, salt and pepper.
Allow to come to a boil and lower heat to a simmer.  Simmer for 20 minutes until slightly thickened.


Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Split pea soup

Without a doubt this soup is my husbands favorite.  Whenever we have ham I make a big batch of split pea soup with the left over bone.  It also freezes beautifully so feel free to double the recipe, you don't need to add another bone just toss in some extra ham.

Split Pea Soup with Ham

1 pound dried split peas
1 meaty ham bone - or 2 ham hocks
6 cups chicken stock
1 large onion chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)
4 carrots chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)
4 celery stalks chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)
2 Tbsp granulated garlic
1 Tbsp marjoram
Salt to taste
Fresh ground pepper

Place ham bone, split peas and chicken stock in a large pot and bring to a slow boil.  Cover and reduce heat to simmer for 1 hour.
Remove ham bone from broth and add in vegetables, garlic and marjoram.  Pull meat from the bone, chop if needed and add back to the pot. 
Bring back up to a simmer and cook for 1 hour, adding water if needed in 1/2 cup portions.
Taste and add salt if needed.
Serve pipping hot and top with ground pepper.


Monday, April 8, 2013

Pecan and Blue Cheese Salad

Salad -
1 head green leaf lettuce - washed and torn or chopped into bite size pieces
1/2 cup toasted pecans - roughly chopped
1/2 cup dried cranberries
6-8 oz blue cheese crumbles

Toss together in a salad bowl.

I like this salad with olive oil and balsamic vinegar or buttermilk ranch dressing, but it would be equally good with blue cheese or Italian.

Try topping with grilled chicken or shrimp for a quick and easy lunch salad.