LOADED GARLIC BREAD

LOADED GARLIC BREAD
½ stick butter, softened
⅓ cup parsley, finely chopped
⅓ cup green onions, sliced
2 slices bacon, diced and cooked crisp
⅓ cup oregano, minced
5 cloves garlic, minced
½ cup shredded cheddar cheese
½ cup fresh mozzarella cheese, chopped
½ cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1 8-inch baguette

  • Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C).
  • In a bowl, combine the butter, herbs, garlic, bacon pieces and cheese mixing until smooth.
  • Slice the baguette in half lengthwise, then spread the butter mixture evenly on the cut sides of the baguette.
  • Place the baguette a parchment paper-lined baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes, until cheese is bubbly and starting to brown on the edges.
  • Slice, cool, and serve!

LEMON SHRIMP FETTUCCINE

LEMON SHRIMP FETTUCCINE

3/4 pound medium shrimp, cleaned and deveined
1 small fennel, cleaned, halved and sliced – save chop fronds and keep separate
12 ounces fettuccine, prepared al dente (save 1/4 cup hot pasta water)
2 egg yolks
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons avocado oil
1 cup sugar snap peas, trimmed and halved
2 Meyer lemons, Juice of LARGE Meyer Lemon + slices for garnish
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper

  • Whisk together the cream, lemon juice and egg yolks.
  • Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
  • Heat avocado oil in skillet over medium heat.
  • Saute shrimp for 90 seconds. Remove shrimp and set aside to keep warm.
  • Add the fennel pieces and saute for 2 minutes.
  • Add the snap peas and saute another 3 minutes until peas are tender and fennel is browned.
  • Add cream, 1/4 cup pasta water, prepared fettuccine and shrimp into pan.
  • Turn off heat and stir together until well blended and sauce thickens.
  • Season to taste.
  • Garnish with fennel fronds and lemon slices.
  • Serve immediately.

NOTE: Meyer lemons are a bit sweeter than regular lemons so if you can’t find a Meyer lemon, use half of a regular lemon and half of a tangerine.

CHEESY SOUR CREAM CHICKEN

CHEESY SOUR CREAM CHICKEN adapted from A Dish of Daily Life
4 chicken breasts or 2 pounds chicken tenders
1 LARGE shallot, peeled, halved and sliced thin
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon avocado oil
4 slices Mozzarella or Provolone
1 cup sour cream
3/4 cup Parmesan, freshly grated, divided
1 tablespoon corn starch
2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon FRESH ground salt
1/2 teaspoon FRESH ground pepper
chopped Italian Parsley, for garnish

  • Preheat oven to 375°.
  • Over medium high heat, melt butter and avocado oil.
  • Add onions and 2 minced cloves of garlic.  Saute’ until golden and cooked through.
  • Spray baking dish with non-stick cooking spray or avocado oil.
  • In a small mixing bowl whisk sour cream smooth.
  • Add 1/2 cup of the Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper, Italian seasoning, 2 minced cloves of garlic, garlic powder and cornstarch stirring to mix well.
  • Place sauteed onions in bottom of baking dish.
  • Lay chicken breasts over onions in baking dish in a single layer.
  • Top each with a slice of Provolone or Mozzarella  and smother the chicken with the sour cream mixture.
  • Top with 1/4 cup remaining Parmesan.
  • Cover with foil and bake 30 minutes.
  • Uncover and bake 30 minutes more until chicken is cooked through and cheese is golden.
  • Serve chicken over pasta.
  • Top with chopped parsley for garnish.

NOTE: If using chicken tenders, slice Provolone or Mozzarella slices into smaller pieces to fit.  You can also use grated cheese.

PEASANT CHICKEN


PEASANT CHICKEN – serves 4
1 1/2 pounds chicken tenders
1/4 cup WONDRA flour
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper, to taste
3 carrots, peeled and diced
1/2 pound green beans, trimmed and cut
2 shallots, sliced thin
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon avocado oil
1 tablespoon butter
1 cup chicken broth
Juice of 1 lemon
rice or pasta, prepared per package directions using chicken broth as your water ingredient for more flavor

  • Heat oil and butter in large saute skillet over a medium-high heat.
  • Generously season chicken pieces with FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper.
  • Dredge chicken pieces in flour.
  • Add chicken pieces to skillet browning 2-3 minutes per side.  Remove chicken to platter and tent to keep warm.
  • Add carrots to pan and saute’ 5 minutes until beginning to soften.
  • Add green beans and saute’ 2-4 minutes more.
  • Add shallots and saute’ 2 minutes more.
  • Add garlic and saute’ 2 minutes more.
  • Stir in broth and lemon juice.
  • Add chicken back into skillet, simmering 5 minutes until chicken is cooked through and sauce is beginning to thicken.
  • Serve over rice or pasta.

 

ITALIAN DEVIL CHICKEN & TOMATO POTATO CASSEROLE

These two recipes go hand in hand for us.  The marinade on the chicken makes it sooooooooo tender and flavorful too. The tomato potato casserole is good, but add the sauce and it ALL comes together as GREAT & YUMMY! 😀

ITALIAN DEVIL CHICKEN & TOMATO POTATO CASSEROLE

ITALIAN DEVIL CHICKEN
1 pound Chicken tenders
2 ounces avocado oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
Juice of 1 LARGE lemon
2 tablespoons Frank’s Original Hot Sauce
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper
Wondra flour for dredging
1 tablespoon butter

  • Whisk together the avocado oil, lemon juice, garlic and hot sauce.
  • Season chicken tenders generously with FRESH ground salt and pepper.
  • Add chicken pieces to a shallow dish and pour marinade over top.
  • Cover and chill 4-8 hours or overnight.

 

  • Melt butter in skillet over medium heat.
  • Drain marinade off chicken pieces.
  • Dredge chicken pieces in flour and add to skillet.
  • Sear chicken pieces 2-3 minutes each side until golden and cooked through.
  • Remove chicken pieces and keep warm while preparing sauce.

SAUCE
4 ounces tomato pesto
1 cup Marsala wine

  • In the same skillet add wine being sure to scrape up all the browned bits.
  • Whisk in tomato pesto and simmer on medium high 5-6 minutes until heated through and slightly reduced.
  • Serve sauce over chicken pieces.

TOMATO POTATO CASSEROLE
potatoes, peeled and sliced thin
Italian Roma tomatoes, sliced thin
Vidalia onion, sliced thin
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper
Parmesan Cheese, grated
FRESH basil leaves, torn, to taste
5-6 tablespoons Avocado oil
1/4 cup water

  • Spray baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.
  • Arrange potatoes in a layer, followed by a layer of onions and then a layer of tomatoes.
  • Sprinkle with basil leaves, to taste.
  • Season each layer to taste.
  • Repeat layers ending with the Parmesan cheese.
  • Sprinkle oil over cheese layer evenly.
  • Pour water over top.
  • Bake covered for 30 minutes.
  • Bake for another 30 minutes or until tender and cheese is golden.

ITALIAN PORK CHOPS

ITALIAN PORK CHOPS
4 boneless pork loin chops
1 tablespoons avocado oil
1 tablespoon butter
3 strips bacon, chopped and cooked crisp (reserve bacon grease for searing pork chops)
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper
1 small red onion, halved and sliced
8 ounces button mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
1/2 cup Marsala wine
1/2 cup beef broth
1/2 cup diced pastrami
1/2 cup heavy cream
Prepared egg noodles

  • Preheat oven to 275°.
  • Pound chops to 1/4-1/2 inch maximum.
  • Generously season chops with FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper
  • Add avocado oil and butter in skillet over medium high heat.
  • Sear chops 2 1/2 minutes per side and transfer to baking sheet to keep warm in oven.
  • Add onions and mushrooms to skillet, sauteing until starting to caramelize, about 10=15 minutes.
  • Add Marsala to pan and de-glaze and reduce until almost evaporated.
  • Add beef broth, pastrami and cream. Simmer until reduced by half and beginning to thicken.
  • Stir in bacon pieces.
  • Season to taste.
  • Serve over pork chops and noodles.

ROCHESTER CHICKEN ala ITALY

Chicken Francese is an Italian recipe that was originally made with veal and while delicious, I don’t cook with veal by choice and substitute chicken in any veal recipe. I recently read that because of the cost and availability or lack there of, immigrants substituted chicken for veal when they came to the U.S., specifically to Rochester New York. So, I call my version Rochester Chicken ala Italy.

ROCHESTER CHICKEN ala ITALY
1/2 cup all purpose flour
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper, to taste
2 LARGE eggs
1/2 cup Panko crumbs
1/4 cup FRESH chopped parsley
1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
3 tablespoons UNSALTED butter
2/3 cup chicken broth
Juice of 1 LARGE lemon
1 lemon. sliced into wheels
Prepared egg noodles

  • Set up a dredging station with the flour, salt and pepper in dish one. In dish two beat the eggs with 1 tablespoon of water and in the third dish combine the Panko crumbs with the paprika and parsley.
  • Pound chicken breasts to 1/3 inch thickness between 2 sheets of plastic wrap.
  • Dip each chicken piece into the flour and press to coat well, followed by the egg dip and then the Panko crumbs. RESERVE 2 tablespoons of the  flour mixture.
  • Set aside on a platter. When you have them all coated, chill the platter 30-60 minutes.

 

  • In a large skillet (preferably cast iron) heat 2 tablespoons of the butter over medium high heat until sizzling.
  • Saute each breast about 4 minutes per side until golden.
  • Transfer to a warm platter.
  • Add the remaining butter to the pan.
  • Add 2 tablespoons of the reserved flour mixture and whisk until combined and golden.
  • Add the broth and lemon juice, stirring constantly until reduced and thickened into sauce.
  • Adjust seasoning to desired flavor.
  • Return chicken to pan and turn to coat.
  • Serve over prepared egg noodles.
  • Top with sauce and garnish with lemon wheels and parsley.

PARMESAN HERB MUSHROOM CHICKEN

PARMESAN HERB MUSHROOM CHICKEN adapted from Cafe Delites

CHICKEN
2 tablespoons butter
6 skin on, bone in chicken thighs*
PINCH of garlic powder, to taste
FRESH ground sea salt and pepper

  • Preheat oven to 400°.
  • Generously season chicken with garlic powder, salt and pepper.
Heat a large cast iron skillet over medium high heat.
  • Add butter. When melted sear chicken thighs 2-3 minutes on each side (skin side down last) until golden and crispy.
  • Transfer chicken pan to the oven and roast until completely cooked through, about 25-30 minutes.
Transfer to a warm plate and set aside.

SAUCE
2 green onions, sliced thin
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 cups sliced mushrooms (I like to substitute beech mushrooms for a nuttier flavor)
1 tablespoon FRESH minced basil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
2 teaspoons FRESH chopped Flat Leaf Parsely
1½ cups Half and Half
2 cups baby spinach
3/4 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese , divided
FRESH ground sea salt and pepper, to taste
1 KNORR chicken bullion cube, crushed
1 tablespoon cornstarch mixed with
2 tablespoons Half and Half
1/4 cup fresh chopped parsley for garnish

  • Drain all but 2 tablespoons of some of the excess fat from the skillet.
  • Return skillet to the stove over medium-high heat and sauté the onions and garlic a minute or so in the pan juices until fragrant.
  • Add the mushrooms, herbs and 2 teaspoons of parsley, sautéing until mushrooms begin to soften.
  • Reduce heat to low-medium heat, add the half and half and bring to a SLOW simmer, stirring occasionally, and being careful NOT to boil.
  • Add in the bullion cube powder and season with salt and pepper to your taste.
  • 
Mix together the cornstarch and 2 tablespoons half and half.
  • Add cornstarch mixture to the center of the pan, and continue to simmer while quickly stirring the mixture through until the sauce thickens.
  • Add 1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese; allow sauce to simmer for another minute until cheese melts through the sauce.
  • Add the chicken back into the pan and allow to simmer for 1-2 minutes in the cream sauce.
  • Taste test and adjust seasoning, if desired.
  • Fold in spinach leaves, stirring to coat and cooking JUST until they wilt.
  • Sprinkle with the remaining 1/4 cup of parsley and 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese.
  • Serve over mashed potatoes, rice or pasta.


NOTES – To substitute chicken breasts for the thighs there is no need to bake them. After adding the breasts back into the pan, continue simmering in the sauce until completely cooked through.

BEEF RAGU & PASTA ala SLOW COOKER and A LITTLE PASTA HISTORY

Strozzapreti AKA priest-choker or priest-strangler are an elongated form of cavatelli, a hand-rolled pasta typical of the Tuscany region of Italy.

The name has many theories as to the name. One of the theories is because of gluttonous priests were so enthralled by the savory pasta that they ate too quickly and choked themselves. Another explanation involves the “azdora” OR A  ”housewife” who “chokes” the dough strips to make the strozzapreti. It is presumed that the housewife would express such a rage possibly triggered by the misery and difficulty of her life that would fill her with enough rage to be able to strangle a priest!” And yet another legend suggests that wives would customarily make pasta for priests as partial payment for land rents (the Catholic church rented to many farmers) and their husbands would be angered enough by the priests eating their wives’ food to wish that the priests would choke as they stuffed their mouths with it. And yet another possible explanation is that the pasta resembles a clerical collar which is commonly referred to as a “Priest Choker”.

The more commonly accepted theory is that following Sunday mass, a priest would visit homes of the villagers and enjoy dinner with them. The more pleasant the experience for the priest the more often they would come back to that particular home. As a means for the family to let the priest know that he might have worn out his welcome, they would serve this pasta which later earned the name “Strozzapreti.”

The dough is first rolled out in thick flat sheets. It is then cut into strips. The strips are lightly rolled or twisted between the palms. The large pasta is separated into 3-4 inch pieces by pinching it. Unlike spaghetti or macaroni, this pasta is not uniform in size or shape.

Different regions makes this pasta slightly different. In Romagna it is made with wheat flour, water, salt and sometimes eggs. Where as in Emilia it is made from flour, water, Parmesan cheese and egg whites which are all beaten together. In Pici it is more similar to the Tuscan style which is hand rolled, solid fat tubes of dough that are cut, but not twisted giving it the appearance of a taut rope. In Corsica it is a large gnocchi made of cheese and vegetables and then baked.

Unless you make your own pasta regularly this is a difficult pasta to find in your average grocery store. I usually substitute the Barilla Campagnelle pasta which is a thinner cone shaped pasta with a ruffled edge and is often known as “little bells”.

BEEF RAGU ala SLOW COOKER
1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
5-6 cloves garlic, minced
2 1/2 -3 pound chuck roast
1 tablespoon House Seasoning (see below)
28 ounce crushed tomatoes
1 cup beef broth
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1 large carrot, peeled and grated
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
3 teaspoons Italian seasoning
Prepared pasta
Parmesan cheese, grated

  • Spray a large slow cooker with non-stick cooking spray.
  • Arrange the onions and garlic in the bottom of the slow cooker.
  • Sprinkle the roast with the house seasoning on both sides.
  • Arrange roast on top of the onions and garlic.
  • Sprinkle the carrots on top of the roast.
  • In a medium bowl, blend together the tomatoes, tomato paste, beef broth, red wine vinegar and Italian seasonings.
  • Pour over the roast.
  • Cover and cook on low 8-10 hours until the beef is EXTREMELY tender and falls apart.
  • Skim any fat from the top.
  • Use 2 forks to shred the beef.
  • Stir beef into the tomato sauce.
  • Adjust seasonings.
  • Re-cover and cook for another hour to allow the flavored to meld together.
  • Serve over prepared pasta and top with Parmesan cheese.

HOUSE SEASONING MIX

1/4 cup fine sea salt
1/4 cup garlic powder
2 tablespoons onion powder
1 tablespoon FRESH ground black pepper

  • Combine in a small bowl until well blended.
  • Store in an air tight container.

 

STUFFED CHICKEN ALFREDO SHELLS

STUFFED CHICKEN ALFREDO SHELLS
20 whole Jumbo Pasta Shells, Cooked And Drained
2 Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts or 2 cups shredded rotisserie chicken
FRESH ground salt And pepper, to taste
Avocado Oil
3/4 cups ricotta cheese (whole milk, NOT low-fat))
3/4 cups SMALL CURD cottage cheese (whole milk, NOT low-fat)
3/4+ 1/4 cups grated Mozzarella cheese
2+ 1/4 cups grated Parmesan cheese
2 whole LARGE eggs, lightly beaten
1/4 cup minced FRESH parsley
2 tablespoons minced FRESH basil
4 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
2 cups whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
4 cloves garlic, minced

  • Preheat oven to 375°.
  • Season the chicken breasts on both sides with salt and pepper.
  • Heat a grill pan or iron skillet over medium heat, drizzle with avocado oil.
  • Cook the chicken on both sides until cooked through.
  • Remove and shred with two forks and allow to cool.
  • In a medium bowl, combine ricotta, cottage cheese, mozzarella, 1 cup of the Parmesan cheese, eggs, 2 tablespoons of the fresh parsley, salt, pepper, and chicken, stirring to combine. Add heavy cream as necessary 1 tablespoon at a time. Set aside.
  • In a large skillet over medium heat, melt butter and sprinkle with the flour. Whisk and cook until the roux turns golden brown.
  • Pour in the milk and cream, whisking constantly, and cooking for a few minutes, until thickened.
  • Add the garlic, the additional 1 cup Parmesan, salt, pepper, 1 tablespoon minced parsley, and minced basil and stirring until well blended.
  • Taste and adjust seasonings as needed. Set aside.
  • Add 1 cup sauce to the bottom of a 9 x 13 inch baking dish.
  • Using a spoon, fill each of the jumbo shells generously with the chicken/ricotta mixture.
  • Lay them face down in the pan, then pour the sauce all over the top.
  • Sprinkle with 1/4 cup mozzarella and 1/4 cup Parmesan cheeses.
  • Bake for 25 minutes, or until bubbly and the cheese is golden.

SAUCY MEATBALL SLIDERS

SAUCY MEATBALL SLIDERS makes 6 sliders
3/4 pound ground beef
1/4 cup breadcrumbs
1 tablespoon ricotta cheese
1 egg, lightly beaten
FRESH ground salt and pepper, to taste
1 batch authentic meat sauce
6 buns
Parmesan cheese

  • Preheat oven to 450°.
  • In a large bowl combine your breadcrumbs, ricotta cheese, 1 1/2 tablespoons meat sauce, egg, salt and pepper.
  • Add ground beef and minimally mix by hand JUST until well blended.
  • Form 6 meatballs.
  • Place meatballs on a baking sheet that has been lined with foil.
  • Bake 15-18 minutes until browned and cooked through.
  • While meat balls cook, heat sauce in large skillet.
  • When meatballs are finished baking add them to sauce, turning to coat.
  • Toast buns.
  • Plate bun bottoms.
  • Add a meatball to each bun bottom and top with a spoonful of meat sauce.
  • Top with Parmesan cheese.
  • Add bun tops.
  • Serve with salad.

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CHICKEN PARMESAN CASSEROLE

CHICKEN PARMESAN CASSEROLE
1/2 pound penne pasta
3/4 pound chicken breast, cut into bite size pieces
Wondra flour for dredging
Fresh ground black pepper and salt
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon avocado oil
1/2 batch marinara sauce (recipe below)
1 1/4 cup grated Mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
4 slices Provolone cheese

  • Preheat oven to 350°.
  • Spray 9×9 baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.
  • Cook pasta per package directions on the al dente’ side. Drain and set aside.
  • Combine flour and seasonings in a ziplock bag.
  • Heat butter and oil in skillet until sizzling.
  • Dredge chicken pieces in flour mixture, shaking off the excess.
  • Add chicken pieces to hot oil and quickly sear all sides.
  • In a large bowl gently combine sauce and pasta with the majority of the Mozzarella and Parmesan reserving some for the top.
  • Gently fold in chicken pieces and stir to coat.
  • Spread ingredients evenly into baking dish.
  • Top with provolone slices followed by the remaining Parmesan and Mozzarella.
  • Cover with foil and bake 40 minutes.
  • Uncover and return to oven baking another 10-15 minutes until cheese is bubbly and brown.
  • Let cool 10 minutes before serving.

SAUCE
1 tablespoons avocado oil
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 small red onion, chopped
24 ounce can whole tomatoes
1 KNORR beef gel
3/4 cup moscato white wine
Juice from 1 lemon
5-6 cloves garlic, finely minced into a paste
3 tablespoons Classico sundried tomato pesto
1 teaspoon fresh ground Himalayan pink salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground red pepper
1 teaspoon sugar
2 tablespoons fresh chopped Italian flat leaf parsley
2 tablespoons fresh chopped basil

  • Heat avocado oil in a large saute’ pan over medium high heat.
  • Add onions and garlic sauteing until tender.
  • Whisk together the beef gel, wine, pesto and juice from the tomatoes.
  • Add seasonings, blending well.
  • Add tomatoes and gently crush.
  • Bring to a SLOW boil.
  • Reduce heat and simmer 2 hours.

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