CHICKEN FLORENTINE & ARANCINI ~ BLOG 366.53

BE SURE AND READ THROUGH THE RECIPE FIRST. The Arancini takes the longest and requires the most attention so be sure and start with the rice!

ARANCINI makes 18 balls Adapted from Joanna Gaines
Total 2 hours and 50 minutes including cooling and chilling times Active 60-70 minutes

1 quart homemade bone chicken broth
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup small-diced Vidalia onion (about 1/2 medium)
2 garlic clove, minced
1 cup Arborio rice
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper, to taste
1 cup (4 ounces) Parmesan cheese, grated
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest
Juice of 1 Meyer lemon
2 cups panko bread crumbs
1 cup all-purpose flour
3 LARGE eggs
3 cups Neutral oil, for deep-frying
2 cups Marinara Sauce, for serving

  • Bring the chicken stock to a simmer in a large pot.
  • In a large saucepan or Dutch oven, melt 3 tablespoons of the butter over medium-high heat.
  • Add the onion and sauté, stirring, until translucent, 5 to 8 minutes.
  • Add the garlic and sauté 10 to 15 seconds, until tender.
  • Reduce the heat to medium, add the rice, and cook for 1 to 2 minutes, stirring constantly.
  • Season to taste with the FRESH ground salt and pepper.
  • Ladle 1 cup of the stock into the rice mixture and stir constantly until the rice soaks up all the liquid, about 5 minutes.
  • Continue adding the stock 1 cup at a time, stirring constantly and letting the rice soak up the liquid before adding more.
  • When all the stock has been added, cook, stirring constantly, until all the liquid is absorbed and the risotto is thickened, 3 to 5 minutes.
  • Remove from the heat and add the Parmesan, cream, lemon zest, lemon juice, and remaining 2 tablespoons butter. Stir until well combined.
  • Line a sheet pan with parchment paper. Spread the risotto out on it to cool for 30 minutes, then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until fully chilled, for at least 1 hour.
  • BREAK TIME 😀
  • Make a dredging station of the panko, flour and eggs. Be sure and season the flour and panko with FRESH ground salt and pepper.
  • Shape the risotto into 1 1/2-inch balls, using gloves or lightly spraying your hands with olive oil to keep the balls from sticking. 
  • Freeze the risotto balls on a sheet pan for 10 minutes.
  • Dredge each risotto ball in the flour, coating it well, then dip it in the egg mixture, letting the excess egg drip back into the bowl. Roll the ball in panko to coat it well. Refrigerate while the oil heats.
  • Pour 2 inches of oil into a large pot. Have a wire rack lined with paper towels ready. Heat the oil to 350°F on a deep-fry thermometer.
    Working in batches, use a slotted spoon or spider to lower a few arancini at a time into the hot oil. Do not add more than can float freely in the hot oil. Fry 4-6 minutes until deep golden brown.
  • Drain them on the paper towel-lined rack and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Serve hot with marinara or divide among plates and cover with the sauce.

CHICKEN FLORENTINE serves 4 Adapted from Joanna Gaines

2 tablespoons avocado oil
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper, to taste
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 LARGE  shallots (1/2 cup minced)
3-4 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup QUALITY dry white wine
1 cup heavy cream
4 cups baby spinach
1 tablespoon chopped FRESH parsley
Juice of 1 LARGE lemon

  • Heat the oil over medium-high heat in a large skillet.
  • Season the chicken with the FRESH sea salt and black pepper.
  • Dredge chicken pieces in the flour, shaking off any excess.
  • Place the chicken in the skillet and cook 4-5 minutes on each side until golden brown.
  • Transfer to a plate to cool and set aside.
  • Reduce the heat to medium and melt the butter in the same skillet.
  • Add the shallots and garlic, sautéing and stirring often, until just softened, about 2 minutes.
  • Add the wine, scraping up any browned bits on the bottom of the skillet. Let simmer 10 minutes until the liquid is reduced by half.
  • Add the cream and cook, stirring often, until the mixture can coat the back of a spoon, 5 to 8 minutes.
  • Remove the pan from the heat and add the spinach and remaining 3/4 teaspoon salt. Stir until the spinach is wilted.
  • Cut the chicken against the grain into diagonal strips 1 inch wide, 2 to 3 inches long, and return it to the skillet.
  • Sprinkle with the parsley and serve with the lemon wedges.

CHICKEN FLORENTINE aka STUFFED CHICKEN BREASTS ~ BLOG 366.40

If you are anything like me, you have a drawer or a box full of recipes from newspapers, magazines, old maiden aunts, grandmothers, friends and every potluck you ever went to and said I have to have that recipe! I remember one potluck at church several years back that I asked for a recipe and she instantly pulled it out of her pocket. Obviously I wasn’t the first to ask! Those are the recipes I like, the ones that bring a memory to mind like Lonnie handing me that recipe card.

Now while I kept her combination of spices and seasonings intact I did make changes that made it more palatable to my family. For example hubby doesn’t like cooked mushrooms so I either have to eliminate them or substitute for something else. but sometimes I’m a little sneaky and they’re in there, but just not so he can tell. One son doesn’t like tomato pieces, but loves tomato sauce, his old girlfriend won’t eat cooked carrots, and on and on! So I always keep a list of likes, dislikes and allergies and am constantly altering recipes to fly by the seat of my pants.

This recipe has been floating around so long in the box of scraps that I have no idea where it originated which based on all my changes doesn’t matter, but reminds me to keep that box. Some days I feel like an archaeologist, but come up with oldies that were favorites and will now be revived.


CHICKEN FLORENTINE aka STUFFED CHICKEN BREASTS
FILLING
1/3 cup diced red bell pepper*
1/3 cup chopped fresh mushrooms
1 1/4 cup fresh baby spinach leaves**
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/8 teaspoon white pepper
1 bunch green onions, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 ounces Philadelphia cream cheese, softened or 2 ounces grated mozzarella
1 1/2 teaspoons flour
CHICKEN
4 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2-3 slices sourdough bread, staled and crumbled
3 tablespoons Parmesan cheese
1+1 tablespoon butter
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 egg white, beaten

  • Preheat oven to 425°.
  • Melt 1 tablespoon butter add 1 teaspoon olive oil in skillet.
  • Saute’ garlic, bell pepper and mushrooms until tender, about 5 minutes.
  • Add in spinach and cooked until spinach is completely wilted. If using frozen stir until well blended.
  • Drain well.
  • Combine cream cheese, flour and spinach mix until well blended and set aside.
  • Between 2 sheets of wax paper flatten each chicken breast to 1/4 inch and set aside.
  • Combine bread crumbs and Parmesan cheese. Add 1 tablespoon melted butter and mix until crumbly.
  • Divide the spinach mixture equally between the chicken breasts.
  • Carefully roll each chicken breast.
  • Using a pastry brush coat each chicken bundle with the beaten egg and then roll in coating mixture.
  • Place seam side down on a small baking sheet or stoneware pan (I prefer the stoneware pan for a crisper, non-greasy chicken)
  • Bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown in color and juices are clear.

NOTES:

  • I like to make this recipe back to back on my weekly menu with Twisted Pepper Steak to make the red pepper usage more efficient, use jar (olive oil soaked) red peppers or I substitute a jar of pimentos in a pinch.
  • You can use frozen chopped spinach, but it must be drained well and then drained a few more times until dry!!

ORIGINALLY POSTED 2-5-2010

LASAGNA STUFFED GARLIC BREAD ~BLOG 365.360

LASAGNA STUFFED GARLIC BREAD
2 tablespoons avocado oil
1 yellow onion, chopped small
2 garlic cloves, FINELY minced
½ cup mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
½ pound ground beef
1 cup marinara sauce
FRESH ground sea salt and pepper to taste
1 teaspoon dried oregano
½teaspoon dried basil
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
½ c. shredded mozzarella cheese (reserve a bit for garnishing)
½ c. shredded sharp cheddar cheese
2 French baguettes
FRESH parsley, chopped for garnish
4 tablespoons butter
1 garlic clove, crushed to paste

  • Preheat oven to 400°.
  • Spray baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.
  • In a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat, add the onion and cook for 3 minutes.
  • Add minced garlic and mushrooms and cook until tender.
  • Add your beef and season it with salt, pepper, oregano and basil. Cook until the meat is browned.
  • Drain off excess grease.
  • Add marinara sauce and cook for 3 minutes.
  • Spread the cream cheese on the bottom of your dish.
  • Spread the meat/tomato sauce mixture over the cream cheese.
  • Top with the mozzarella cheese and cheddar cheese. 
  • Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until hot and bubbly.
  • Cut the ends off the baguettes, cut it in half and then hollow out the middle.
  • Spoon in the lasagna mixture into the baguette.
  • Melt 4 tablespoons of butter, mix with the crushed garlic and most of the parsley.
  • Brush the mixture all over the baguette.
  • Sprinkle some of the grated mozzarella over all of it for the final touch.
  • Bake for about 5 to 8 minutes. KEEP A CLOSE EYE THAT IT DOESN’T BURN.
  • Remove from oven and sprinkle the remaining chopped parsley over it.

ANTIPASTO SQUARES ~ COOKING THURSDAY ~ BLOG 365.292

Antipasto salad at its best – as a hand held snack sandwich. Perfect for tailgating, pot lucks, baby showers, game nights, family get togethers…

ANTIPASTO SQUARES

non-stick cooking spray
2 (8 ounce) tubes crescent dough (non-perforated if you can find them)
1/2 pound thin sliced tavern ham
1/4 pound sliced pepperoni
1/4 pound slice salami
1/2 pound sliced provolone
1/4 pound sliced mozzarella
1 cup WELL drained sliced pepperoncinis and/or banana peppers
1/2 cup WELL drained and chopped marinated artichokes
4 ounce can WELL drained sliced olives
2 tablespoons avocado oil
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons FRESH grated Parmesan
1 teaspoon FRESH chopped oregano
1 tablespoon FRESH chopped basil

  • Preheat oven to 350°.
  • Grease a 9×13 baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray.
  • Roll out one can of crescents on prepared baking sheet, gently stretching into a rectangle.
  • Layer in the following order ~ pepperoni, provolone, salami, mozzarella, ham, olives, artichokes and pepperoncinis.
  • Sprinkle with half of the FRESH chopped herbs followed by the 2 tablespoons of Parmesan cheese.
  • Unroll remaining tube of crescent dough and place on top.
  • Pinch together seams to seal.
  • Whisk together the oil and remaining herbs.
  • Brush oil mixture all over top of crescent dough, then sprinkle with Parmesan.
  • Bake until dough is golden and cooked through, about 35 minutes. (If dough is browning too quickly, cover with foil.)
  • Let cool at least 15 minutes before slicing into squares.

NOTE: Keep in mind that draining everything exceptionally well and HOW you layer this recipe makes a difference in the outcome. If there is too much moisture the squares can be too soggy.

CHICKEN in TOMATO ROSE SAUCE ala CROCKPOT ~ BLOG 365.248

Flavorful chicken made with a creamy tomato rose sauce in your slow cooker and ready to serve over your favorite pasta in no time at all.

CHICKEN in TOMATO ROSE SAUCE ala CROCKPOT

1 pound boneless chicken breasts, sliced into bite sized pieces or slivers
1 small bunch green onion FINELY minced
2-3 cloves garlic, FINELY minced
1/2 cup of your favorite Alfredo sauce
1/2 cup of your favorite spaghetti sauce
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese + more for serving
3/4 teaspoon garlic powder
3/4 teaspoon onion powder
2 teaspoon dried oregano
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper, to taste
FRESH chopped Italian parsley

  • Whisk together the garlic powder, onion powder, oregano, FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper.
  • Generously season chicken pieces with seasoning mix.
  • Spray the bottom of your slow cooker with non-stick spray or line with liners.
  • Place chicken pieces in the bottom of the cooker.
  • Top with onions and garlic.
  • Whisk together the alfredo and red sauce and pour over chicken pieces.
  • Sprinkle both cheeses over the sauce.
  • Cover and cook on high for 1-2 hours or until cooked thoroughly. (See notes)
  • Gently toss together to coat chicken.
  • Serve over your favorite pasta.
  • Garnish with parsley and a bit more grated Parmesan

NOTE: If you wish to cook your chicken on the low setting, increase your cooking time to 3-4 hours, depending on the size of your chicken pieces.

SUNDAY (ALL DAY) MEATBALLS ~ BLOG 365.136

SUNDAY (ALL DAY) MEATBALLS

MEATBALLS
Avocado oil
2 slices dense sourdough bread
+/- 1/2 cup WHOLE milk
1 pound QUALITY ground beef
1 LARGE egg, lightly beaten
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper
1/4 cup red wine
3 1/2 cups WHOLE peeled tomatoes, hand crushed by hand
1/4 cup oil packed, chopped sun dried tomatoes
1/3-1/2 cup FINELY chopped Vidalia onion
2 LARGE cloves garlic, minced

  • Preheat oven to 450°.
  • Grease a 9×13 baking dish with oil.
  • Place the bread in a small bowl and pour enough milk to soak the bread. Allow to sit 5-10 minutes.
  • Add ground beef to medium bowl.
  • Squeeze out excess milk out of bread and crumble bread over ground beef.
  • Add egg, salt and pepper to taste.
  • Grease your hand with a bit of the oil , mix the meat mixture gently and then roll meat mixture into 10-12 meatballs, placing in greased baking dish.
  • Bake meatballs 10-15 minutes – just enough to crisp the outsides, but not entirely cook the insides.

SAUCE
1 tablespoon FRESH chopped parsley
1 tablespoon FRESH chopped basil
1/2 tablespoon FRESH chopped oregano
1 teaspoon FRESH chopped thyme
+/- 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
4 pickled jalapeno slices (optional)
1-2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

  • Combine the wine, crushed tomatoes, sun-dried tomatoes, onions, garlic, seasonings to taste and pickled jalapeño if using.
  • Pour sauce over meatballs.
  • Cover with foil and bake 25 minutes.
  • Remove foil and sprinkle with cheese.
  • Return to oven and bake 10 minutes more until cheese is melted and golden.
  • Serve over pasta and enjoy!

SPICY BALSAMIC CAPRESE CHICKEN ~ BLOG 365.124

This is a modified version on Pampered Chef’s recipe for Balsamic Caprese Chicken.

BALSAMIC CAPRESE CHICKEN
2 plum tomatoes, diced
1/4 cup FRESH basil leaves, julienned
2-3 LARGE cloves garlic, FINELY minced
1/4 teaspoon Italian seasoning
2 tablespoons avocado oil
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons butter
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper, to taste
4 ounces FRESH sliced Mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup balsamic glaze, to taste (RECIPE BELOW)
Homemade marinara sauce for serving

  • Preheat oven to 400°.
  • Toss together the tomatoes, basil, garlic, Italian seasoning and avocado oil.
  • Season with FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper. Set aside.
  • Generously season chicken breast with FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper.
  • Heat butter in heavy skillet.
  • Sear chicken 3-4 minutes on both sides until cooked through.
  • Top with a slice of FRESH Mozzarella cheese.
  • Drizzle with balsamic glaze.
  • Serve with pasta and homemade marinara sauce.

BALSAMIC GLAZE
1/2 cup QUALITY balsamic vinegar
1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes

  • Mix together in a small saucepan.
  • Simmer 15 minutes over medium low heat until reduced by half and will coat the back of a spoon.

BAKED PARMESAN CHICKEN ~ BLOG 365.97

BAKED PARMESAN CHICKEN
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 cloves garlic, minced
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper
1/3 cup FINELY shredded Mozzarella cheese
1 cup Marinara sauce

  • Preheat oven to 375°.  
  • Wash and dry chicken.
  • Spread marinara sauce in LIGHTLY greased 9×13 baking dish.  
  • Combine the remaining ingredients into a paste.
  • Spread the paste evenly on the chicken breasts.  
  • Bake uncovered for about 30 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through.
  • Top with Mozzarella cheese and bake 5-10 minutes more until the cheese is golden brown.
  • Spoon desired amount of sauce over chicken before serving.

Originally posted 6-1-2012 ~ Updated 4-7-23

BAKED FETTUCCINE ALFREDO ~ BLOG 365.73

Cooking for a crowd? Try this classic fettuccine Alfredo sauce combined with tender fettuccine and then baked to perfection for an easy to prepare and serve version!

BAKED FETTUCCINE ALFREDO Yield: 8 servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes Cook Time: 20 minutes Total Time: 30 minutes

16 ounces fettuccine
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup WONDRA flour
2-3 cloves garlic, FINELY minced
1 cup homemade chicken broth
1 1/2 cups WHOLE milk
2 cups mozzarella cheese, divided
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided
1 teaspoon herbs de Provence
1/8 teaspoon FRESH ground nutmeg
FRESH ground Salt and pepper, to taste
Chopped fresh parsley, for garnish

  • Preheat the oven to 375°.
  • Lightly grease a large baking dish.
  • Cook the linguine according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
  • In a large saute pan, melt the butter.
  • Add the garlic and cook 1-2 minutes until fragrant.
  • Whisk in the flour until smooth.
  • Gradually and alternately whisk in the chicken broth and milk, stirring until smooth. Cook and stir 5 minutes, or until sauce has thickened.
  • Reduce heat and add half of the mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses.
  • Season to taste with herbs de Provence, nutmeg, salt and pepper.
  • Combine the sauce with the cooked linguine and toss to coat well.
  • Transfer the pasta to the prepared baking dish.
  • Sprinkle with the remaining cheeses.
  • Bake for 15-20 minutes or until bubbly and golden brown.
  • Let stand 5-10 minutes before serving.
  • Sprinkle with fresh parsley for garnish.

NOTE: Don’t be afraid to add more milk to thin out the sauce as necessary to your desired consistency.

ITALIAN CORN CHOWDER ~ BLOG 365.33

January was NATIONAL SOUP MONTH so what better time for comfort food like this warm and comforting super creamy corn and potato chowder that includes sweet Italian sausage to oomph the flavor. This sausage and corn chowder is the perfect comfort food year round, but especially in the winter. In the summer use fresh corn and in the winter, frozen corn works well!

Prep Time: 15 minutes Cook Time: 35 minutes Total Time: 50 minutes Servings: 6

ITALIAN CORN CHOWDER adapted from CLOSET COOKING

1 pound Sweet Italian sausage, casings removed
4 tablespoons butter
1 cup sweet Vidalia onion, diced
1 cup diced carrots
1 cup diced celery
1 cup red pepper, diced
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
1 pinch red pepper flakes
3-4 tablespoons WONDRA flour
4 cups homemade chicken broth
2 LARGE potatoes, peeled and cubed
4 cups corn (fresh, frozen, or canned depending on season)
1 teaspoon FRESH chopped oregano
1 teaspoon FRESH thyme leaves
FRESH ground salt and pepper to taste
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons FRESH chopped Italian flat leaf parsley
2 green onions, thinly sliced

  • Cook the sausage in a large skillet over medium-high heat, breaking it into small pieces, until cooked through. Set aside.
  • Add the butter to the pan and let it melt.
  • Add the onion, carrots, celery and peppers cooking 7-10 minutes until tender.
  • Add the garlic and red pepper flakes, stirring well.
  • Sprinkle with the flour and cook 2-3 minutes until golden.
  • Add the broth, sausage, potatoes, corn, oregano, and thyme.
  • Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer until the potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes.
  • Turn off the flame.
  • Lightly whisk together the heavy cream and Parmesan until the cheese melts in.
  • Adjust seasoning to taste with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Mix in the parsley and green onions.

TUSCAN CHICKEN PASTA

TUSCAN CHICKEN PASTA serves 4

2 cups rotisserie chicken breast pieces
8 ounces spiral pasta (I didn’t have enough so I used half rotini and half penne)
3/4 + 1/2 cups chicken bone broth
2 tablespoons butter
3/4 cup WHOLE milk
4 ounces cream cheese, cubed
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
3 cups fresh baby spinach
1 cup FRESH grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes
2 tablespoons chopped FRESH basil
3-4 slices bacon, diced – browned, drained of ALL fat and crisp
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper

  • Add sun-dried tomatoes to 3/4 cup homemade chicken bone broth to re-hydrate for 1 hour. This can also be done 24-48 hours ahead of time.
  • Prepare pasta per package instructions.
  • While pasta is boiling, melt butter in skillet over medium high heat.
  • Add onions, sauteing 1 minutes or so.
  • Add the milk, cream cheese, remaining 1/2 cup chicken bone broth and garlic powder, cooking and stirring 3-5 minutes until cream cheese is melted and mixture is a smooth consistency.
  • Stir in 3/4 cup Parmesan cheese, sun-dried tomatoes, basil, spinach, salt and pepper cooking and stirring until spinach is wilted.
  • Serve immediately with garlic bread.
  • Garnish with additional basil, bacon bits and remaining FRESH grated Parmesan cheese.

NOTE: Leftovers can be placed in a casserole dish, topped with Mozzarella cheese. Bake 25 minutes until casserole is cooked though, cheese is melted and browned and serve as a new meal.

MUSHY PEA RICOTTA STUFFED SHELLS

MUSHY PEA RICOTTA STUFFED SHELLS

These mushy pea and ricotta stuffed shells are a TRUE comfort food for a crisp fall evening!

18 to 20 JUMBO shells
1-2 tablespoons avocado oil
3/4 cup mushy peas – from leftovers preferably
1 1/2 cups ricotta cheese
1/4 cup grated pecorino cheese + extra for garnish
2 LARGE garlic cloves, minced
1/2 pound QUALITY sweet Italian sausage
1/2 pound LEAN ground beef
3-4 green onions, sliced thin
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
3/4 teaspoon sea salt, more for the pasta water
FRESH ground sea salt & black pepper, to taste
2 cups homemade tomato marinara sauce (you can use jarred sauce, but we prefer homemade from the garden)

  • Preheat the oven to 425°.
  • In a large pot of salted boiling water, cook the pasta shells for 10 minutes, until al dente. Drain and drizzle with a little avocado oil to keep them from sticking together.
  • Brown sweet Italian sausage, ground beef and green onions until meat is cooked through and crumbly. Drain off grease well!
  • In a large bowl, combine the mushy peas with the ricotta, pecorino, garlic, oregano, lemon zest, red pepper flakes, salt, FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper.
  • Spread the marinara in the bottom of a 9×13 baking dish.
  • Stuff each shell with the filling and place in the dish.
  • Cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes.
  • Uncover and bake 5 minutes more until cheese is browned and bubbly.
  • Serve with more marinara on the side.

NOTE: This recipe freezes well for an easy weeknight meal!

  • After assembling the shells in the baking dish, cover tightly and freeze.
  • To thaw, transfer the dish to the fridge about 10 hours before you plan to serve it.
  • Remove from the fridge and let sit at room temp while the oven preheats.
  • Bake, covered, for 30 minutes, or until thawed and warmed through.