Fruity Avocado & Chicken Couscous Salad with Honey Mustard Vinaigrette


Hello all–  How is your summer rolling along??  We’re trying to keep cool and our ice cream consumption is definitely on the rise!  And if we can manage dinner without turning on the oven, all the better.

So here’s a cool, fresh, filling salad that’s just right for a hot summer evening. Add something cold to drink and a bit of crusty bread.  Perfect. I think you’d like it.

FRUITY AVOCADO & CHICKEN COUSCOUS SALAD WITH HONEY MUSTARD VINAIGRETTE

Salad:
1 cup couscous
14 oz. can chicken broth
salt & freshly ground pepper to taste
1 skinless, boneless chicken breast
1 avocado, peeled & cut to chunks
1/3 cup dried apricots, chopped
1/3 cup dried cranberries, chopped
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
1/3 cup almonds, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup green onion, chopped

Dressing:
1/3 cup olive oil
3 tab. cider vinegar
2 tsp. honey
1 tsp. seedy mustard
salt & freshly ground pepper to taste

Bring the chicken broth to a boil on the stovetop.  Pour in the cup of couscous. Turn off the heat and let it sit for 5 minutes.  Scoop the couscous into an ample bowl and let it cool to room temperature.  Drop all the salad ingredients into the bowl and stir them up.

To make the dressing, put all the dressing ingredients into a container with a tight fitting lid.  Shake the container until the ingredients are thoroughly blended.  Mix it into the salad and refrigerate it until you are ready to eat.  Enjoy!

 

Easy Chicken Parmesan


Hello– This was dinner tonight and I’m definitely adding this recipe to my chicken dinner rotation.  So quick & easy and it turned out tender and so savory good. To keep it light, we just added a big bright salad and some chunks of sturdy bread.  Super summer supper.

EASY CHICKEN PARMESAN
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/4 cup flour
1 egg
3/4 bread crumbs
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
2 tab. olive oil
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
1/2 cup fresh mozzarella, broken to bits
1/2  cup tomato sauce
1/2 tsp. dried basil
garnish: fresh basil or marjoram*

Slice the chicken breast horizontally to form two flatter chicken filets.

Take 3 flat bowls.  In the first put the flour.  I the second put the egg, well beaten.  And in the third the bread crumbs and parmesan, mixed together.

Heat the olive oil in a skillet.  Then dredge the chicken filets first in the flour, next in the egg and lastly in the crumb-parmesan mixture.  Lay the chicken in the hot skillet and cook 2 to 3 minutes on each side until nicely browned and cooked through.

Place the chicken on a baking sheet or baking dish that has been sprayed with cooking spray.  Top with with the mozzarella and set under the hot broiler for just a minute or two until the cheese is well melted.

Take if from the oven and top with a mixture of the tomato sauce and dried basil.  Garnish with fresh basil or marjoram and serve it up hot.

*I used marjoram because it grows like a weed in the side yard.

Garlic Parmesan Chicken with Roast Zucchini


Hello all–  This supper is brought to you by Mr. Wicks.  He’s our next door neighbor with the virtual “farm” in his small back yard. It’s mid June and his tomato plants are 6 feet tall!   And we are the lucky recipients of his bounty.  This week it’s zucchini!  (thank you Mr.s Wicks!)

Add some super savory chicken– parmesan AND garlic– so much flavor!  Add some small ravioli and a bright salad, it makes a fine summer supper.

ROAST ZUCCHINI
3 medium zucchini, chopped to bite sized bits
4 tab. olive oil
1/2 tsp. garlic salt
1/2 tsp. dried basil

Toss the chopped zucchini, oil, garlic, salt and dried basil into a mixing bowl and stir it up until the zucchini is thoroughly coated.  Spread the zucchini on a baking sheet that has been lined with foil.

Cook it up at 400 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes, until it’s tender and just slightly browned around the edges.

While that’s cooking, make the chicken…

GARLIC PARMESAN CHICKEN
4 tab. butter
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/2 cup parmesan
2 cloves garlic minced
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground pepper
1/2 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. dried basil

Filet the chicken breasts, cutting them horizontally to make 4 thinner flat pieces of chicken.  In a shallow bowl mix together the parmesan, garlic, salt, pepper, paprika and basil.

Melt 3 tab. of butter in a large nonstick skillet (do not let it brown).  Then coat the chicken filets with the parmesan mixture and then lay it into the hot skillet.

Cook the chicken about 3 minutes on each side until it’s nicely browned and the chicken is cooked through.  Add the 4th tablespoon of butter when you turn the chicken over.   Platter it up with the zucchini and serve it while it’s hot.  Enjoy!

Ginger Plum Chicken

Hi everyone– saw these plums at the market and couldn’t resist digging into summer fruit!  The best part of this dish is the sauce!!  We ate it with brown rice that soaked up the puddles of sauce for a delicious side dish.  Add a bright salad and a chunk of bread.  Delish!

GINGER PLUM CHICKEN
2 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast
2 tab. olive oil
1 tab. soy sauce
1 tsp. ground ginger
2 tab. brown sugar
1/4 cup plum jam
1 tsp. brown mustard
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup chicken broth
1 tsp. corn starch
2 plums, seeded and sliced to wedges

Slice the chicken breasts horizontally to make 4 chicken filets.  Heat the oil in a large skillet.  Cook the chicken on medium high for 3 to 4 minutes on each side until it is cooked through.  Remove the chicken from the skillet.

While that’s cooking, combine the soy sauce, ginger, brown sugar, jam, mustard, garlic, broth and cornstarch in a container with a tight fitting lid.  Shake the container until all the ingredients are well blended and then pour it al into the hot skillet.

Stir it up for a couple minutes until the sauce thickens. Then add in the cooked chicken and the plums.
Lower the heat to a low simmer and let it all cook for about 3 or4 minutes to warm the chicken and set the sauce.  .

Serve it all up on a pretty platter, topped with all the sauce and a sprig of something green.

Broccoli, Chicken & Bacon Pasta


Hi friends–  We sat down to a luscious dinner at Paul and Sue’s house last week– and this pasta was on the table–  So back home, I had some Cappellacci pasta  that I’d picked up at Homegoods (Don’t you love that place??) and a huge Costco bag of pine nuts (thanks to my mom), and  I thought I’d try to recreate Sue’s wonderful meal.

It’s rich and savory and filling– the best sort of comfort food.  Add a bright salad and a chunk of sturdy bread.  Perfect.

BROCCOLI, CHICKEN & BACON PASTA
1 pound of your favorite pasta*
6 slices bacon, chopped to bits
1  1/2 pound boneless skinless chicken breast, cut to bits
1/2 cup red onion, chopped fine
6 cloves garlic, minced
2 small heads of broccoli, cut to bite size bits
1/2 cup parmesan
1/2 cup pine nuts

Cook the pasta according to the directions on the package.

Cook the chopped bacon in a large skillet until it just crispy and a lightly browned.  Remove it from the skillet, but leave the bacon droppings.

Cook the pieces of chicken in the same skillet, about 4 to 5 minutes until it’s browned and cooked through.  Remove it from the skillet.

Then drop in the chopped red onion and cook for 3 or 4 minutes until it’s tender and add in the garlic and cook a minute more.

While all that is happening, put the broccoli bites until a bowl of salted water and microwave it for about 4 minutes, until it’s done but still a little crunchy.  Drain off the water.

Now is the fun part.  Into the skillet with the onion & garlic, add the drained pasta, broccoli, chicken and bacon.  Then sprinkle on the parmesan and pine nuts and stir it all together over low heat to warm it through.  (If it seems a bit dry to you add a drizzle of olive oil as you stir it up).  Delicious!!

*I used Cappellacci, thin round discs that look a little like sunflowers, but any pasta will do.

 

Moroccan Spiced Chicken with Couscous


Hello everyone– This recipe started with a cookbook from the library shelves and a big bundle of cilantro.  I picked up Half Baked Harvest from the new book shelves at the library.  It’s beautiful.  I started to bookmark things I’d like to make and it’s pretty much every recipe!

And then my dear buddy Janet showed up at my door with a huge bouquet of cilantro from her garden and this recipe from the book came to mind.

It’s spicy and so flavorful.  Easy–since Larry is the one who cooks it on the grill!  And the couscous is moist and crunchy and a little sweet from the apricots.  I think you’d really like it…

MOROCCAN SPICED CHICKEN WITH COUSCOUS

Chicken:
1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. powdered ginger
2 tab. cilantro, chopped fine
1 tsp. smoked paprika
2 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. red pepper (cayenne)
1/2 tsp. chili powder
2 tab. sugar
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup olive oil
grated zest and juice of 1 lemon

Couscous:
14 oz. can chicken broth
1 cup couscous
2 tab. olive oil
1/2 cup dried apricots, chopped to bits
1/2 cup whole almonds, chopped
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped fine
salt & freshly ground pepper to taste

Garnish:
cilantro sprigs
lemon slices

In a zip loc bag, combine the garlic, ginger, 2 tab. chopped cilantro, smoked paprika, cumin, red pepper, chili powder, sugar, salt, pepper, olive oil, lemon zest and juice.  Squish the bag until all the ingredients are thoroughly combined.

Cut the chicken to skewer size pieces and add to the bag.  Zip it and squish the bag until the chicken is all coated.  Let the chicken marinate in the spices at least an hour up to 10 hours.

Thread the chicken onto 2 or 3 skewers.

Just before you grill the chicken, make the couscous.  Bring the chicken broth to a boil in a sauce pan.  Remove from the heat and add the couscous.  Let it sit for 5 minutes.  Fluff the couscous with a fork and stir in the oil, apricots, almonds and 1/4 cup cilantro.  Cover to keep warm while you grill the chicken.

Grill the chicken 10 to 12 minutes until the outside is charred and the chicken is cooked through.

On a pretty platter spread the couscous and top with the chicken skewers.  Garnish with cilantro pirgs and lemon slices.

Sesame Chicken & Broccoli

Hello there– We’ve been traveling the last couple weeks–eating like we were on a vacation from reasonable food– such as mid morning coffee and pastry breaks every day!!  And tracking down fun places to eat breakfast, lunch and dinner!!

So it’s nice to get back to our own kitchen and have an “every day eating at home” kind of meal.  And this is a good one– ready in about 30 minutes, a little sweet, a little spicy.  So good to be at our own little table!

SESAME CHICKEN & BROCCOLI

1 cup white or brown rice
1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast, cut in small cube
2 tab. sesame oil
salt & freshly ground pepper
2 small heads broccoli, cut to bitesize pieces (about 3 cups)
1/2 cup water
t tab. soy sauce
3 tab. brown sugar
1  1/2 tab. cornstarch
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tab. Thai sweet chili sauce
1 tsp. sesame seeds

Cook the rice according to the directions on the package.

Cut the chicken in bite size pieces.  Heat the oil in a large pan.  Cook the chicken 4 or 5 minutes until it’s browned and cooked through, salt & pepper it liberally while it cooks.

While that’s cooking, cut up the broccoli and steam it in lightly salted water,  3 minutes in the microwave, until its tender but still crisp.

In  container with a tight fitting lid combine the water, soy sauce, brown sugar, cornstarch, ginger, garlic and chili sauce.  Shake the container until it is all blended and add it to the chicken on high heat, stirring until the sauce thickens, 2 or 3 minutes.

Drain the water from the broccoli and add it into the chicken in the pan.

On a platter, layer the rice and then the chicken and broccoli, scraping all that good sauce out of the pan over the chicken.  Sprinkle on the sesame seeds– ready to eat!