Lemon Piccata Chicken & Pasta

Hello all–  New version of an old favorite here.  Had it with our new “housemate,” Kendall, a seminary student from Australia who’s staying with us for his last semester.  Larry enjoys talking theology with him and I just like having such a great guy around the house.

This chicken is salty from the parmesan, tart from the bit of lemon and garlic savory.  And the sauce melds just right with a big plate of pasta.  Real comfort food.

LEMON PICCATA CHICKEN & PASTA
8 to 10 oz. pasta
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, sliced horizontally to filet
2 tab. flour
3 tab. parmesan cheese
1 tsp. garlic salt
freshly ground pepper to taste
2 tab. olive oil
2 tab. butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
14 oz. can chicken broth
1/2  cup whole milk (or half & half)
1/3 cup parmesan
2 tab. capers (drained)
3 tab. lemon juice (about 1 lemon)
1 tab. cornstarch
1/3 cup water
1 tsp. rosemary, minced and sliced lemon for garnish

Cook the pasta according to the directions on the package.

In a shallow bowl mix together the flour, 3 tab. parmesan cheese, garlic salt and pepper.  Dredge the chicken filets in the flour mixture and set aside.

Heat the olive oil and butter in a large skillet.  Cook the coated chicken 3 to 4 minutes on each side over medium-high heat, until they are nicely browned and cooked through.  Remove from the pan and cover to keep warm.

Drop the garlic into the same skillet and cook for a minute.  Then add in the chicken broth and milk and bring to a strong simmer.  Add in the parmesan and capers and simmer for 3 minutes or so to thicken.  Stir in the lemon juice.

If you want the sauce to be thicker, shake the cornstarch and water together in a container with a right fitting lid until it’s thoroughly blended and stir it into the simmering sauce for 3 or 4 minutes more until it thickens.

Return the chicken to the sauce in the skillet and simmer a couple minutes to warm the chicken.  Then spread the pasta on a platter, top with the chicken and sauce.  Garnish with the minced rosemary and lemon slices.  Serve it up hot!

Lemon Pudding Cheesecake


Hey there Baking Friends– Ran across this cheese cake recipe (on Pinterest, where else??)  and gave it a try last weekend for a game night with a crowd of friends.  Sally and I made Jeopardy game, complete with buzzers and question boards with facts about all the friends–it was a whole lot of chaotic noisy fun!!

And the cheesecake was even better than I’d hoped.  So light (for cheesecake!) and creamy and with just enough lemon flavor.  The secret ingredient is the lemon pudding mix!!  We ate the last leftover piece last night and I was sad to see it go…

LEMON PUDDING CHEESECAKE

Crust:
1 1/2 cup graham crackers crushed (about 8 crackers)
1/2 cup coconut
4 tab. butter, melted

Filling:
32 oz. cream cheese (4 – 8 oz. packages)
3/4 cup sugar
2 tab. flour
2 tab. milk
1 cup sour cream
4 eggs
2 small packages instant lemon pudding (3.4 oz. size)

topping:
2 cups heavy whipping cream
1 tab. powdered sugar
1 tab. instant vanilla pudding (for stabilizer)
garnish– lemon slice, mint leaf

Mix the graham cracker crumbs, coconut and melted butter in the bottom of a 9″ or 10″ springform pan.  Press them down to uniformly cover the bottom of the pan and bake at 350 degrees for just 10 minutes.

To make the filling, use an electric mixer to beat together the cream cheese and sugar until it’s creamy.  Then add in the flour milk, sour cream, eggs and lemon pudding.  Beat on high speed until it’s thoroughly blended.

Spoon the thick batter over the graham cracker crust and set into the 300 degree oven for 50 to 60 minutes until the cheesecake is puffy in the middle and just a little wobbly when you shake it.  Open the oven door and turn off he heat and let the cheesecake sit in the cooling oven for an hour.  Then run a sharp knife around the edge to loosen it from the pan and set it into the fridge at least 4 hours to firm up.

When you’re about ready to serve the cheesecake, beat the whipping cream, powdered sugar and instant vanilla pudding with an electric mixer (the whisk attachment works best) until it is very firm.  Spoon it over the top of the cake and garnish with lemon and leaves.  So pretty!

Blackberry Avocado Salad

Hello there– We had another important celebration at our house last week– Larry’s folks came in to celebrate their 69th anniversary!!  It’s a joy to watch them together.

So we made toasts and ate lasagna (Stu’s favorite) and Larry’s cheery sister brought in a magnificent cake. It was a great time together.  Stu & Helen, you’re the best!!

Oh, and with our supper, we dug into this bright salad– sweet berries, creamy avocado, crunchy almonds, salty feta– tossed with a mustard & maple dressing.  Just fine on the plate with our lasagna.

BLACKBERRY AVOCADO SALAD

Salad:
6 cups salad greens
2 small Persian cucumbers, sliced
2 avocados, cut into chunks
6 oz. carton of blackberries (about 1 cup)
1/3 cup roasted salted almonds, coarsely chopped
1/3 cut feta, crumbled

Dressing:
1/4 cup olive oil
3 tab. tarragon veingar
2 tab. maple syrup
1 tsp. seedy Dijon mustard
salt & freshly ground pepper, to taste

Layer the salad ingredients in a shallow bowl.  When you are ready to serve it up, shake together the dressing ingredients in a container with a tightly closing lid until they are all blended and drizzle over the salad.

Cranberry Orange Buttermilk Breakfast Cake

Good morning–  Just in case you have a bag of cranberries lingering in your freezer after the holidays here is jus one more cranberry recipe (the last, I promise!!).  I could eat this all year round with mugs of hot tea.

And thinking most of you don’t have those cranberries on hand, blueberries would work just as well!  Perfect coming out of the oven on a lazy Saturday morning…

CRANBERRY ORANGE BUTTERMILK BREAKFAST CAKE
1 orange
1/2 cup canola oil
1 cup sugar + 1 tablespoon
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla
2 cups flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
2 cups fresh cranberries
1/2 cup buttermilk*

Grate all the peel off of the orange.  Set aside.

Mix together the oil, 1 cup sugar, egg and vanilla.  Then stir in the flour baking powder and salt.  Fold in the cranberries and orange peel.  And finally stir in the 1/2 cup buttermilk.

Spoon the stiff batter into a 9″ square** baking dish that has been sprayed with cooking spray.  Pop it into a 350 degree oven for 35 to 40 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean.  Delicious served warm with morning mugs of tea!

*In place of buttermilk, you can use 1 tab. of cider vinegar & then fill the measuring cup to 1/2 cup.  Let it sit a couple minutes to thicken like buttermilk.
**or –I used a 10″ tart dish

Easy Drop Biscuits

Hello all– These biscuits got thumbs up from the family tonight.  And they are so easy– Our 10 year old Charlotte whipped them up by herself (well, I did set them in the oven)!

Tender on the inside, hot and crunchy around the edges.  With a little jam– perfect!

The recipe of from Mollie’s blog Fugal Housefrau.  It you haven’t visited her, you should!  Such practical, pretty, delicious recipes.  Every one of them!

EASY DROP BISCUITS
1/2 cup butter (1 stick), cut into slices
1  1/2 cup flour
2 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. sugar
3/4 cup whole milk

Prepare the butter, cutting it in pieces.

In a mixing bowl stir together the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar.  Use a pastry blender (or two forks) to cut in the butter until it resembles coarse crumbs.  Then stir in the milk to make a sticky dough.

Drop spoonfuls of the dough onto a baking sheet that has been sprayed with cooking spray (makes 8 to 10). And pop them into a 400 degree oven for 12 o 14 minutes until they are golden brown.

Don’t wait!  Eat them hot from the oven with spoonfuls of jam!

Here’s our baker Charlotte, helping me take down the Christmas tree. I told her to pick out the ornaments she wants when she grows up and has her own tree.  Good times with that girl!

Zucchini Corn Chowder


Hey there– OK, I’m ready– to have a new start after Christmas.  Tree down- check!  Decorations boxed up- check check!  Fudge all eaten– double check!  House in order again- mostly checkity check (close enough)!

Here’s a flavorful bowl of soup– warm and filling.  If you want to be a bit more healthy, change out the bacon for olive oil (we just had a bit of bacon leftover in the freezer, calling to be used!).  With a big chunk of study bread, just right for a winter’s evening.

ZUCCHINI  CORN CHOWDER
1 tab. butter
4 strips of bacon, cut to small bits (or substitute 3 tab. olive oil)
1 small yellow onion, chopped fine
2 carrots, but to small bits
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 cups water
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp. dried basil
2 cups corn (fresh, frozen or canned)
2 smallish zucchini, cut to small pieces
1 cup half & half or whole milk
salt & freshly ground pepper
garnish: chopped parsley or grated cheddar

In a soup pot, cook the butter and bacon until the bacon starts to crisp.  Remove the bacon from the pot and set aside, leaving the fat/butter in the pot.

Add in the cut onion and carrots and cook until they are tender (about 5 minutes), stirring now & then.  Add in the garlic and cook 1 minute more.

Pour in the water along with the bay leaf and dried basil and simmer for about 5 minutes. Add the corn and zucchini and simmer 5 minutes more until the zucchini is tender.

Take 2 cups of the mixture out of the pot to a blender (or with a stick blender) and puree it to thicken the soup.  Add the puree and half & half to the pot.  Season with salt & pepper to taste. Add the bacon back into the pot.

Bring it back to a simmer jut to heat it all through and serve with a sprinkle of grated cheddar or chopped parsley (or both!).

 

Overnight Orange Rolls


Happy New Year All!  It’s New Year’s Eve here as I’m writing this and grand-girl Jobay and I just put together these orange rolls for tomorrow morning.  We have big plans to watch the Rose Parade on t.v. and enjoy orange rolls and hot chocolate around the coffee table when we get up to welcome in the New Year.  Sounds pretty perfect to me.

OVERNIGHT ORANGE ROLLS

Dough:
1 cup milk
1/3 cup butter, melted
1 pkg. yeast (2.5 oz.)
1/2 cup white sugar
4  1/2 cups flour (plus more for kneading)
1 tsp. salt
3 eggs

Filling:
6 tab. butter, melted
1 cup sugar
grated peel of one large orange

Glaze:
1 cup powdered sugar
2 tab. orange juice

Heat the cup of milk 1 minute in the microwave so it’s lukewarm.  Melt the butter in the microwave and add it to the milk.  Stir in the yeast and 1/2 cup sugar.  Then mix in 3 cups of the flour, salt and the eggs.  Finally stir in the rest of the flour 1/2 cup at a time.

Turn the dough out onto a floured counter and knead gently for about 8 minutes.  Put the dough into large oven proof mixing bowl that has been sprayed with cooking spray and set it in a warm place for 1 hour for the dough to rise (about double in size).*

While the dough is rising mix up the filling.  Stir together the 6 tab. melted butter, 1 cup sugar and the grated orange peel and set aside.

After an hour, punch the dough down and use a rolling pin to roll it into a 10″ by 15″ rectangle.  Spread the orange peel mixture over the rectangle, clear to the edges.

Starting along the 15″ side, roll the dough into a cylinder and cut the dough into 12 (or 18 thinner rolls)** slices.

Nestle the cut rolls into a 9″x 13″ baking dish that has been sprayed with cooking spray (or I used a 12″ circular tart pan).  Cover the orange rolls with plastic wrap and set them in the refrigerator over night.

In the morning, take the rolls from the fridge and set them on the counter for 30 minutes to warm a bit.  Then set them into a 375 degree oven for 25 to 30 minutes, until the rolls are golden.

While they are baking, make the glaze.  Stir together the powdered sugar and orange juice and set aside,

When the rolls are hot from the oven, drizzle the glaze over the top and serve them warm– preferably with mugs of tea.

*I turn on the oven to 350 for just 3 minutes and then turn it OFF when I first start making the dough,  This makes a warm cozy place for the dough to rise.
**Cutting the dough into 12 slices makes taller fluffier rolls, but we have a small crowd for breakfast tomorrow, so I’m cutting them into 18 smaller rolls.  (I know it’s the same amount.  It just looks like more!!)

And here’s Jobay kneading dough New Year’s Eve– my best kitchen helper!