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!

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!

Scalloped Potatoes

Hello all–  Who doesn’t love potatoes??  Add a creamy sauce and a couple kinds of cheese, even better–hot and bubbly from the oven.   We served up these potatoes with peppery grilled tri-tip and a bright salad to a table full of friends Saturday night. Delish!

SCALLOPED POTATOES
3 tab. butter
2 small yellow onion, chopped fine
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup flour
1  1/2 cup chicken broth
2 cups milk
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper
2 tsp. thyme leaves, divided
4 pounds yukon gold potatoes, unpeeled, sliced thin
2 cups cheddar, grated
1/2 cup parmesan romano

In a large skillet melt the butter and throw in the chopped onion, cook until the onion is tender, not yet browned.  Add in the garlic and cook a minute more.

Stir in the flour, until a thick paste forms.  Then pour in the chicken broth, stirring as you go until they mixture is smooth.  Keep simmering.  Stir in the milk, salt & pepper and 1 tsp. of the thyme leaves.  Keep stirring as the mixture simmers until it is a thick smooth sauce (about 3 or 4 minutes).  Turn off the heat.

Slice the potatoes thinly and layer half of them in a 9″x13″ pan that has been sprayed with cooking spray.  Over the first half of the potatoes, drizzle half of the sauce.  Then sprinkle on 1 cup of the cheddar cheese and all of the parmesan.  Add the rest of the potatoes and top with the remaining sauce and cheese.

Cover the top with foil, tenting it so that it doesn’t touch the sauce and cheese on top the potatoes.  Pop it covered into a 400 degree oven for 30 minutes.  Then remove the foil and cook 20 to 25 minutes more until the potatoes are tender when you poke them with a fork.

Serve them hot, garnished with the remaining teaspoon of thyme leaves sprinkled on top.  Delish!!

 

Fresh Tomato Pasta Sauce

Hey there–  We have the end of the tomato crop in the house and happily, had saved this beautiful pasta sauce recipe from my blog-buddy Mollie at The Frugal Hausfrau .  I think you’d love here recipes, bright, super practical and always something you’d love to have on your table.

And have to say I love that dinner was ready in about 15 minutes!!  Make a simple salad (greens, nectarine, feta) while the tomatoes cook and dinner’s on the table before you know it.

All to say, this was our dinner tonight, thanks to Larry, the tomato farmer, and Mollie, the recipe inventor.  And it was delicious!

FRESH TOMATO PASTA SAUCE
8 oz. pasta
1/3 cup olive oil
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1  1/2 tab. tomato paste
1  1/2 pounds fresh tomatoes, chopped (about 4 cups)
(We mixed a few varieties, including orange cherry tomatoes)
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
pinch sugar (optional)
2 tab. fresh basil, chopped
1/4 cup parmesan
garnish: more parmesan and a sprig of basil

Start the water for pasta and cook it while you make the sauce. Drain and set aside.

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet.  Then put in the onion and cook a couple minutes until it’s tender and translucent.  Add the garlic and cook a minute more.  Then add in the tomato paste and cook a minute more.

Finally drop in the tomatoes, pepper, sugar and salt if you think you need a bit of saltiness.  Cook 5 or 6 minutes until the tomatoes release their juices to form a sauce.  Add in the parmesan and cook a minute more.  Stir in the basil.

Spread he pasta on a platter and top with with the sauce.  Garnish with a sprig of basil and more parmesan if you like!  Delish!  Thanks Mollie!

 

Roasted Eggplant Parmesan

 

Hello friends–  Got this recipe from a food blog that I just love– The RichmondAvenue   It’s written by smart and warm Jasmine, who combines really practical recipes with beautiful photography and a big dose of southern friendliness.  Her tortilla soup is awesome– as well as this big plateful of roasted eggplant parmesan.  I think you’d love her blog as much as I do.

ROASTED EGGLANT PARMESAN
2 large eggplants, sliced into 1/2″ slices
olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
3 tab. olive oil
2 large cloves of garlic, minced
2 tsp. dried basil
1 tsp. dried thyme
28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
1 tab. red wine vinegar
salt & freshly ground pepper, to taste
1/2 cup (packed) fresh basil leaves, chopped
1 1/2 cup parmesan romano
1/3 cup panko bread crumb
1/2 tsp. dried basil
garnish: basil leaves
8 oz. pasta, cooked

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with foil.  Brush the slices of eggplant on both sides with olive oil and lay them in a single layer on the baking sheets.  Roast them in the hot oven for 10 to 15 minutes, until the bottom sides are browned.  Then turn them over and roast for 10 minutes more.

While that’s roasting, heat the 3 tab. of oil in a large saucepan over medium heat.  Drop in the onion and saute until the onion starts to brown.  Then add in the garlic, dried basil and thyme.  Saute another 30 seconds.  Finally stir in the crushed tomatoes and leave on a low simmer for about 15 to 20 minutes.  Then add the red wine vinegar, fresh basil and salt & pepper to taste.

Spray a 9″ x 9″ baking dish (or a 7″ x 11″) with cooking spray.  Layer in a few spoons of sauce, a layer of eggplant and a sprinkling of the parmesan. Continue with 2 more layers until you’ve used all the eggplant, sauce & parmesan.  Mix the panko bread crumbs with the 1/2 tsp. dried basil and sprinkle the crumbs over the eggplant in the baking dish.

Pop it into a 375 degree oven for 20 to 30 minutes, until the eggplant mixture is bubbly and hot in the middle.  Serve over your favorite pasta.  Garnish with a sprig of basil.

Parmesan Pasta with Mushrooms & Spinach

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Hey there– We’ve been eating our share of salads and light summer suppers– but once in a while you get into a mood and only a plate of pasta will do.  This one is delectable– creamy and cheesy and garlicky– with all those mushrooms and spinach.  So satisfying.  ( I won’t admit that I had a little bowl for breakfast the next morning!).  I think you might really like it too– when that pasta craving hits.

PARMESAN PASTA WITH MUSHROOMS & SPINACH

8 oz. pasta*
3 to 4  tab. olive oil
8 oz. crimini mushrooms, cut in half
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper
4 cloves garlic
1 cup chicken stock
1/2 cup whole milk (or half & half)
1/3 cup parmesan cheese
1 tsp. cornstarch
3 cups spinach, cut in shreds

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Cook the pasta according to the directions on the box, using lightly salted water.

Heat the olive oil in a heavy skillet.  Drop in the cut mushrooms and cook, stirring a bit for 3 or 4 minutes until they are tender.  Salt & pepper them while they cook.  Add in the garlic and cook one 1 minute more.

Then pour in the chicken stock and milk.  Bring to a low simmer and cook 2 minutes.  Stir in the parmesan cheese.  Mix the cornstarch with 1/4 cup water in a container with a tight fitting lid and shake it up until the cornstarch is completely dissolved and stir it into the simmer sauce until it thickens.

Drop in the shreds of spinach and cook 1 minute more until it is wilted and tender.  Then drain the pasta and spread it onto a platter.  Top it with the mushroom-spinach sauce.  Serve it up hot, maybe with another sprinkle of parmesan on top!

*Used my very favorite angel hair pasta, pick your own fave.

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Creamy Lemon Parmesan Chicken

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Hey there– Sunday lunch.  More often than not, it’s cobbled together quickly after church or grabbing something out with friends.  But last week it was a real sit down meal– this creamy lemon parmesan chicken.  My Grandma Rose, of Sunday chicken dinner fame, would have been proud.

The sauce is bright from the lemon and salty from the parmesan– just right over the mound of pasta on the side.  The chicken, hot and tender.  We’ll be having this again for Sunday lunch…

CREAMY LEMON PAREMSAN CHICKEN

Chicken:
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
3 tab. flour
3 tab. parmesan cheese
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper

Sauce:
2 tab. olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup chicken stock
1/2 cup whole milk (or half & half)
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
1 tsp. cornstarch (optional)
4 tab. lemon juice

Garnish: thyme leaves*  & lemon slices

Cut the chicken breasts horizontally to have 2 thin fillets.  The mix together the flour, 3 tab. parmesan, salt and pepper in a flat dish.  Heat the 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a skillet.  Dredge the chicken on both sides in the flour mixture and set it into the hot oil.  Cook on both sides about 3 or 4 minutes until it’s nicely browned and the chicken is cooked through.  Set onto a warm plate.

In the same pan add the garlic to the chicken drippings.  (Add another tablespoon of oil, if the pan is dry).  Cook for a minute and then add in the chicken stock and milk.  Bring that to a low simmer for 2 minutes.  Then stir in the parmesan.

In a small container with a tight fitting led shake together the cornstarch and 1/4 cup water.  Shake it until the cornstarch and water are thoroughly blended and then stir it into the simmering sauce until it thickens.  Finally, stir in the lemon juice.

Set the chick onto a platter with rice or pasta or a whole grain.  Pour the sauce over the chicken and garnish with thyme leaves and lemon slices.  Hope you enjoy it!!

*The recipe I worked from called for Italian parsley as a garnish, but I have thyme in the side yard and like it with lemon.  You could use any favorite herb…

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Oven Baked Parmesan Tilapia

 

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Hey all– Happy weekend!  As much as I love my job (with those 3rd & 4th graders in room #2 everyday)– I do savor the weekends.  They should be havens of refreshment and restoring lounging on the couch with a book.  But more often, I fill them to overflowing and running from here to there, like a wacky person.

So I’m glad to say, last Sunday after church we had a quiet lunch on the coffee table, followed by a lovely soft sofa nap.  And for lunch, this super easy baked fish.  Set it on the table with just a salad and some hearty bread.  Done– and ready for a blessedly quiet Sunday afternoon.

OVEN BAKED PARMESAN TILAPIA
2 large tilapia filets
salt & freshly ground pepper
3 tab. butter, melted
1/4 cup parmesan romano
1/4 cup Panko bread crumbs
2 tab. mayonnaise*
2 tab. cilantro (or your favorite herb)**
Lemon (optional)

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Pat the tilapia dry with a paper towel and set it into a baking dish that has been sprayed with cooking spray.
Liberally salt and pepper the fish and set is aside.

Mix together the melted butter, parmesan, Panko and cilantro.

Then spread the mayonnaise onto the fish filets.  Sprinkle the bread crumb mixture over the top and put it into a 425 degree oven for 12 to 15 minutes, until the crumbs have browned and the fish is flakey.

Serve it up hot with a little wedge of lemon to top it off.***
*Used Best Food light mayo.
**I just used cilantro because that is what I had in the fridge. The recipe called for dill.  And I though rosemary would be good with the parmesan.  Use what you have/like…
***I cannot abide lemon on my fish.  But I put a wedge on for Larry who likes to squeeze it on top.

Here’s the table rubble about nap time…
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Ravioli with Sausage & Brussel Sprouts

IMG_3196Hey all– We are finally having a real winter here!  After all the hot days of autumn when we were all longing just to slip on a sweater… It’s cold!  and even rainy!  My drought stricken yard has been gulping down all this water.  There’s fires in the fireplace and big pots of soup and sweaters, layers of sweaters!  I’m loving it.

And when it turns cold, pasta seems to be so warm and filling.  Loved this recipe for how quick it all goes together.  With a kale salad and a little tumbler of wine, it was just fine.

RAVIOLI WITH SAUSAGE & BRUSSELS SPROUTS
1 pound fresh cheese ravioli
3 tab olive oil, divided
1/2 pound mild Italian sausage*
12 oz. Brussel sprouts, end cut off and sliced thinly
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup chicken broth
Grated parmesan romano

Cook the ravioli according to the instructions on the package.  Drain and rinse.

While that’s cooking, heat a skillet with 1 tab. of the olive oil.  The drop in the sausage, chopping it to small bits as it browns– should cook about 5 minutes.

Then add in the chopped Brussel sprouts, garlic and and salt & pepper.  Cook one minutes more.  Pour in the chicken broth and simmer on low for 2 or 3 minutes.

Layer the ravioli on a pretty plate, topped with the sausage and Brussel sprouts.  Sprinkle on a dusting of parmesan and it’s ready to eat!

*I used mild turkey sausage, but you can go for the hot sausage if you’re braver than I am.

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Brussel Sprout & Kale Salad with Maple Dressing

IMG_2878Hi all– We’re slowly sliding into fall here– not exactly sweater weather just yet.  But the days of fruity summer salads are giving way to crunchy fall versions.  This one  has sturdy kale, crispy Brussel sprouts and a bit of sweetness from the currants and the maple syrup in the dressing.  And almonds– always up for the crunch of almonds in any salad.  I hope you might like simple, tasty bowl full salad this too…

BRUSSEL SPROUT & KALE SALAD
1 pound Brussel sprouts
4 cups kale, chopped
1/2 cup currants
2/3 cup shaved parmesan
1/2 cup toasted sliced almonds

dressing:
1/4 cup olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons seedy dijon mustard*
2 tab. apple cider (or orange champagne vinegar) vinegar**
2 tab. maple syrup
salt & freshly ground pepper

Cut off the tough stems of the Brussel sprouts and cut the them to slivers.  Cut the stems and center vein out of the kale and finely cut it to bits.  Mix together the shaved Brussel sprouts, kale and currants.  Set aside

Whisk together the olive oil, garlic, mustard, sugar and vinegar until it’s all emulsified.  Season to taste with salt & the freshly ground pepper.

Mix the Brussel sprout mixture with the dressing and put it into the fridge if you’re not quite ready to serve it. (It’s a hearty salad– so dressing ahead won’t wilt it!)

Just before setting it on the table, mix in the almonds and parmesan.

*I know I’ve said it before, but I love, love the whole grain dijon from Trader Joe’s, but any mustard you love will be just grand.
**Orange Champagne vinegar also sold at Trader Joe’s and simply delish.

Parmesan Herb Encrusted Salmon

IMG_1415Hello you all–  Here’s a quick middle of the week supper that we’ve enjoyed lately.  It can be ready from start to finish in 30 minutes and there’s enough “in the oven time” to allow you to set a table and make a salad.  I think you’d like it too!

PARMESAN HERB ENCRUSTED SALMON
1 pound (more or less) salmon filet
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tab Italian parsley (of basil or marjoram), chopped fine*
1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated
dash of salt

Place salmon skin side down in a baking dish sprayed with cooking spray.  Put it in a 425 degree oven for 10 minutes.

While that’s cooking, Mix together the garlic, parsley, salt and parmesan in a bowl.

After the 10 cooking minutes, sprinkle the parmesan mixture over the fish and put it back into the oven for 10 to 15 minutes (depending on the thickness of your fish).  –or until the internal temperature is 135 degrees.

Serve it up with a platter or rice of pasta and a bright green salad.  Dinner ready!

P.S.– I used marjoram, since we have it growing in the side yard– going to try rosemary next time.  The recipe I worked from called for Italian parsley.

Broccoli Pancetta Frittata

IMG_2163Hey there– Tuesday was the first day of school!!  And also we had had a full weekend with our kids here.  So the last thing on my mind was what to cook for dinner.  When I got home, there was a quick survey of what we still had left in the fridge–and a tracking down of this recipe from the newest “Cooking Light” on the counter,  and dinner was on the way.

We sat down to a light dinner (after all that weekend eating!) –frittata, a bright salad and some seedy bread.  Just about right.

BROCCOLI PANCETTA FRITTATA
1 crown of broccoli (bot 2 cups)
1/2 tsp. thyme leaves (or your favorite herb)
1/3 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground pepper
6 eggs
1/4 cup grated parmesan romano
1 tsp. olive oil
2 oz. pancetta, chopped to small bits*
1/2 cup sweet onion, chopped fine

Cook the broccoli for 2 minutes in a bowl with a 1/4″ water and a sprinkle of salt for 2 minutes.  Then plunge the broccoli into ice water to stop the cooking and keep it’s pretty green color. After a couple minutes, drain the broccoli well.

Heat an ovenproof skillet and dribble in the olive oil.  Add the pancetta and cook 2 to 3 minutes until it is just crispy.  Remove it to drain on a paper towel.

While it’s cooking whisk together  the thyme, salt, pepper, eggs and parmesan in a bowl.

After you take the pancetta from the pan.  Put in the onion and cook for 2 minutes until it just starts to brown.  Then dump in the drained broccoli and cook a minute more.

Pour the egg mixture into the pan over the broccoli and then sprinkle the cooked pancetta on top.  Cook on medium-low heat for 3 minutes to set the bottom.

Then move the pan-full into the oven at 350 degrees for 12 to 13 minutes until the eggs are set and just start to brown.

Take it out and cut it into wedges– great eaten warm, but leftovers cold the next day are quite nice too.

*In place of the pancetta, you can use any nice smoky bacon.  It may take a little longer to cook.

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Parmesan Asparagus

IMG_8203Hi there– It’s hard to go wrong with asparagus.  Fresh and crunchy– it tastes like spring.  Here’s a savory version we had for dinner last night with a rosemary & tomato pork dish.  It’s nice that it only takes 15 minutes start to finish — and it shared the hot oven with the pork and some sturdy bread.  I’m hoping you will like it as much as we did…

PARMESAN ASPARGUS
1 bunch medium size asparagus*
1/2 cup parmesan, grated
salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
1/4 cup pine nuts

Break off the woody ends of the asparagus and discard.  Lay the asparagus closely side by side on a baking sheet.  Sprinkle parmesan over the asparagus and then the salt and pepper.

Put them into a 425 degree oven for 5 minutes.  Then take them out sprinkle on the pine nuts and bake 5 minutes more.  Enjoy!!

*I usually love the smallest, pencil thin asparagus, crisp and tender, but for roasted, the medium thick stalks hold up better.

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Tomato Gratin

IMG_3439Hi friends–  When we came back from China, Larry had quite a tomato crop waiting for him!  Here’s the truth.  I don’t really like to like to EAT tomatoes, but I love their rich redness and all those beautiful curves.  I have to admit tough, baked up with a sprinkling of panko crumbs and parmesan they do taste yummy in a pizza-ish sort of way.  Larry liked them a lot.  He’s the tomato man.  And you might too.

IMG_3428TOMATO GRATIN
2 tab. olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 cup red onion, chopped fine
6 firm ripe yellow & red tomatoes
1/2 tsp. each salt & pepper
1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
1/4 cup romano parmesan cheese
1 tab. fresh thyme leaves (plus a sprig for garnish)
1 tab. more olive oil

Heat a pan with the 2 tab. of olive oil.  Drop in the red onion and when it’s soft add the garlic and cook for one minute more. Slice the tomatoes into nice 1/4 inch slices.  Spray a smallish casserole with cooking spray and layer half of the tomatoes in the dish.  Sprinkle on half the salt and pepper and top with half of the onions.  Then repeat with the remaining tomatoes, salt, pepper and onions.

Mix together the bread crumbs, cheese, thyme and 1 tab. olive oil.  Sprinkle that all over the tomatoes in the casserole.  Pop it into a 350 degree oven for 20 to 25 minutes until the crumbs are golden and the juices are bubbling.

Bacon Mushroom Spinach Risotto


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Hi all– I’ve steered clear of risotto recipes, after reading about all the serious stirring and tending to the simmering rice.  It all seemed a little bit tedious.  But last week I finally broke down and gave it a try, in a lazy sort of way.  I did stir, but only between dashes to set the table make a salad, answer the phone…  And I think it came out just fine in spite of  my lack of careful, uninterrupted attention.   Gosh, how could rice, spinach, bacon and parmesan all cooked up together not taste good!

BACON MUSHROOM SPINACH RISOTTO
2 tab. olive oil
6 oz. mushrooms, cut in tidy bits
3 slices bacon, chopped to small chunks
1/2 cup diced onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. fresh thyme leaves
3/4 cup uncooked Carnaroli or Arborio rice*
1/4 cup white wine
2 cups chicken broth
1/4 cup parmesan reggiano
2 cups spinach leaves, cut to slivers
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. fresh ground black pepper

Heat the olive oil in the pan,  Brush the mushrooms clean, cut them up and drop them into the hot oil.  Cook them just about 1 minutes until they brown and soften a bit and remove them from the pan.  Wipe out the pan and put in the bacon.  Cook it unitl it’s well browned and take it out and add it to the mushrooms.  Then in the remaining bacon fat,  Cook the onions until they are soft. Next stir the rice into the pan until it is golden.  Add the garlic and thyme leaves.  Stir in the white wine and simmer, stirring now and then until it is absorbed.  Add the chicken broth 1/2 cup at a time, stirring it every few minutes until it is all absorbed (about 20 minutes total).  Then stir in the spinach and cook 3 or 4 minutes more Remove the pan from the hear and mix in the parmesan. bacon and mushrooms.  Salt and pepper to taste.  Spoon it into shallow bowls and garnish with a twig of thyme.  Enjoy!

*I’d never heard of carnaroli rice– but at my grocer’s the Arborio was expensive (!) and they had a store brand bag of carnaroli.  It was cute and nubby, so I gave it a try.  It was just fine.

Simple Parmesan Chicken

Hi there– Has the Thanksgiving/Christmas rush already swept you up?  This has been a 5 star week, running, running– all with things I love,  but it makes it tricky to squeeze in a homemade dinner as you go along.  Here’s an old favorite that you can get into the oven in 5 minutes and the kitchen smells super delicious while it’s cooking–so tasty.

SIMPLE PARMESAN CHICKEN
1 boneless chicken breast, filleted
1/4 cup bread crumbs
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp. dried basil
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
garlic salt to taste
1/4 cup white wine
2 tab. olive oil

Cut the chicken breast the long way to make two flatter, chicken pieces.  Set them in a baking dish sprayed with cooking spray.  Sprinkle on the crumbs, then the parmesan, basil, oregano and a couple shakes of garlic salt.  Drizzle the olive oil, then the wine over the top and set it all in a 350 degree oven for about 30 minutes. That’s it!

I served it with orzo cooked in half water, half chicken broth and mixed with steamed veggies.  Add a salad and good bread if you like.  Dinner!