Chicken Piccata

This is SUCH an easy meal.  So easy in fact, that my husband went into the garage to work on his motorcycle knowing I was just starting an ‘easy’ dinner.  He maybe had picked up a wrench before I was sweetly telling (yelling from across the yard) him to come back inside.  And dang was it good!!  Prep, cooking, eating & cleanup in an hour…score!

The Starting Lineup

•1-2 thick chicken breast (butterflied lengthwise to make 2 thinner breast)
•1 lb Fettuccine Noodles
•1 cup heavy cream
•1 cup chicken stock (broth)
•1 cup dry white wine (I.e. Pinot Grigio)
•2 Lemons
•2-3 Tbsp capers
•2 Tbsp butter
•1/2 cup flour
•1/2 cup italian breadcrumbs (optional, you can just use extra flour if you don’t have)
•Italian Flat Leaf parsley, fresh

Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Salt & Pepper (prefer Kosher salt)

To start, fill a large pot with water for the fettuccine noodles.  Also, have a large pan warming to a med-high heat with the butter and a couple tablespoons of EVOO.

After chicken breasts are butterflied, generously salt and pepper each side and then dredge the seasoned cutlets in the flour/breadcrumb mix. When pan is to temp, add the chicken cutlets and cook about 3-4 minutes each side (don’t touch while cooking) Once browned on each side, transfer to a clean plate and set aside. *Meanwhile cook noodles to package directions/drain. Chicken Piccata

In the same pan that the chicken was cooked in (now turned to med-low), add in the wine & chicken stock while stirring up the brown bits on pan bottom.  Let this sauce reduce by about half.  Squeeze the juice of 2 lemons in (no seeds please!).  Next, add the heavy cream, capers and more salt & pepper to taste. Sauce will thicken to a light & creamy consistency (<– do those two words go together??)… continue to stir.

Plate the noodles and sliced chicken breast. Drizzle the pan sauce over both and top with the chopped parsley.  Enjoy!!

Had a great time….

For anyone interested in my foodie creations, I’m sorry I’ve given you just short of nothing the last 2 weeks.  I have been to Oklahoma, driven through the panhandle of Texas, the mountains of Albuquerque, the desert oasis of Arizona and then all back again to my lovely home in Granbury…all the while with two toddlers.  Yes, joyous times!!  However, I am very glad and grateful we could see our family & friends.  Sincerely.  …but next time they can come to us! 😉

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Super Salad

Let’s lighten things up a bit!  In my house, it is no secret that we loovee our classic American (Mexican, German, Polish, British, Asian, etc etc) comfort food.  However, what you don’t always see is those dishes are always served with a healthy side.  This salad is hearty enough to be a main dish, yet simple enough as a side.  The texture of the leafy greens and other veggies keep this one crisp & crunchy, even when dressed.  Plus, you can’t complain about the health benefits!  *well you CAN complain, but keep it to yourself.  No one likes a grump!  Feel free to add in other favorite vegetables or fruits that you love.  Make it your own!

The Starting Lineup

  • 1 large bunch (12oz) Kale 
  • 8-12 oz shaved Brussels Sprouts
  • 1/2 head Radiccio, cored and cut into ribbons
  • 1 Large Avocado
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan or Asiago, shredded
  • 1/8 cup slivered Almonds or low-fat toasted croutons

Dressing

  • 1/4 cup Lemon Juice
  • 1/4+ cup of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 2 Garlic Cloves, finely minced
  • 2 Tbsp Dijon Mustard
  • 1 Tbsp finely minced Shallot
  • Kosher Salt & Pepper, to taste

In small bowl, combine the dressing ingredients.  Mix well and salt & pepper to taste.  Cover and chill, allowing flavors to meld. 

In large serving bowl, add in the torn or finely chopped kale leaves.  (*tip, if you “massage” the kale prior to chopping, it literally softens the edges and makes it not so tough.).  Next, add in the shaved or thinly sliced Brussels Sprouts and Radiccio ribbons.  

For my avocado, I like to cut it in half and remove the pit.  On one half of the avocado, cut the flesh into chunks and add into salad.  Gently toss to combine.  The other half of the avocado, I slice into vertical strips and gently scoop out of the skin to garnish the top of the salad with.

Drizzle the dressing all over the salad and toss gently to combine.  Garnish with the shredded cheese, almonds/ or croutons & the remaining avocado.

*For a full meal, grilled chicken or fish is an obvious and delicious accompaniment.



Texas Gold

Family came into town this afternoon and I was racking my brain to come up with a side or dessert that wasn’t the “norm” for them.  I think I did well.

A.  I enjoy cooking B. Out-of-stater’s need to have a memorable meal. In conclusion, my husband decided to cook a brisket for 10 hours , while I made the sides and dessert.  Happy compromise (especially considering it’s about 24 degrees outside right now) for us.

Hmmmm?  Should I stay inside and ‘prep’ & ‘bake’ with a glass of wine oorrrr stay outside in mittens, a sleeping bag and ear muffs??  Yeah……

Given our family LOVES sweets, this was a given. Indulgent? Yes!  Tasty? Absolutely!  …most importantly though, is it easy?? You know it!!!!

The Starting Lineup

  • 1 box yellow cake mix
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter (separate, melted)
  • 1 8oz block of cream cheese, room temperature
  • 3 eggs, room temperature 
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 box (16oz) powdered sugarimage

*Preheat oven to 350degrees*

In bowl, with a hand-mixer (or stand mixer) combine the cake mix, 1 egg and 1 stick (8oz) melted butter.

After mixed together (2-3 minutes), it will be a mealy mush.  Sounds appetizing doesn’t it?  I swear it ‘s yummy, just keep with me….press this delightful concoction into a lightly greased or non-stick sprayed 9×13 baking dish.

Next bowl…or you can just reclean the one you previously used, like I did.

Add in the softened cream cheese and beat till a creamy consistency.  Next, add in the 2 eggs, vanilla and the remaining stick of melted butter.  The visual results are not very inticing, but just keep with me.  It’ll ALL be worth it!

Yeah, I agree..not the most appetizing look at the moment, BUT once you (slowly) add in the bag of powdered sugar, you are really in for a treat!  Some call it a diabetic coma.  To each their own.

After your done licking the specks of deliciousness that flew out of the bowl, you simply spread (your leftovers) evenly over the pressed in cake mix.

Once evenly spread over the ‘crust’, pop this baby into the oven for 40-50 minutes.  Though obvious, I do the middle-man of 45 minutes, and it’s always perfect!!  *you do want the middle slightly “jiggly” as to not over cook.  It is to be gooey after all.  This delight will also continue to cook once set.

I like to add even more sugar, yep, I said that.  I like to sprinkle a bit of powdered sugar over each piece before I watch them get devoured by the helpless and weak…

Roasted Veggie & Balsamic Steak Quesadilla

When I like to eat “healthy” a piece of fish & quinoa doesn’t always cut it…unless a large basket of French fries is to follow.  Wouldn’t that be something??  

While I do not claim this to be a diet-healthy meal, I DO KNOW that it also isn’t my Mac n Cheese.  You’re safe(r) with this one.   It’s indulgent in the right ways and easily substituted with poultry or just roasted veggies alone!  My husband refers to it as “Scottsdale Bar Food”.  It so is!  Without the price tag I mean!

The Starting Lineup
•Squash
•Zucchini
•Mushrooms
•Red Bell Pepper
•Red Onion
•2 cuts of steak (i.e. ribeye, sirloin, petit sirloin)
•Goat Cheese Crumbles
•Tortillas (burrito size)
•Balsamic Vinegar
•Salt & Pepper  (I love the McCormick Sea-salt & Pepper grinders and/or kosher salt)
•Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Take steaks out of fridge (to get to room temp for even cooking.). Coat each side of steak with a hefty pinch or two of salt & pepper.  Drizzle each side with 1-2 tbsp of balsamic vinegar.  Set aside.

Preheat oven to 425*.  Line two baking sheets with foil.

Slice veggies into 1/2″ thick slices/strips.  Spread out evenly on baking sheets and drizzle olive oil over top.  Sprinkle decent amount of salt & pepper over top. Toss veggies around to coat.  Place both baking sheets in oven for 20min.

Meanwhile get your pan very hot, med-high heat (I use a cast iron skillet till it’s about smoking).  Coat the resting steak with olive oil on each side and place in pan.  Cook till desired doneness.  Remove from pan to plate, tent with foil and let rest for 5-10 minutes.  Slice into strips across the grain.

In the same pan, now on med-low, add a small amount of butter.  Lay tortilla in pan and on 1/2 of it layer some of the veggies, steak strips and goat cheese crumbles. Flip untouched side of tortilla over, creating half circle shape.  After one side browns, carefully flip quesadilla over to brown other side.  Repeat with remaining ingredients.  This made 3 fully filled ones for me. We were stuffed!

*you can use any method to cook your steak (grill, broil, cast iron, nonstick)
*my steaks were about 1″ thick.  I cooked each side for 1-2 minutes max and then let rest for a cool pink center after resting.
*optional: shredded Parmesan cheese.   I often top my veggies after roasting with this for a bit more salty flavor.
*if you can’t find goat cheese crumbles, the soft log version would work too.  Just make sure to spread on tortilla first before putting it in pan.
*i also like to lightly sprinkle the tortilla while in pan cooking with a but of chili powder or something similar.

Sweet & Salty Crack Cookies

No, the name of my ‘famous’ cookies may not be kid friendly.  I guess that just means more of this yummy treat for you, since you may not want to explain why they’re like ‘crack’.  The boring, kid-safe name for them can just be Brown Sugar, Pecan, Chocolate & Sea Salt Cookies.  Perfect.

Largely known fact, I’m not into sweets as much as my husband.  You’re more likely to catch me with a huge platter of chips, salsa & guacamole while he munches on a chocolatey Nutty Bar.  However, these cookies are a perfect mix of sweet & salty.  Even I admit to sneaking a few too many.  I think we all do in this household, because two dozen never last the entire day.

The Starting Lineup

  • 1 1/4 cup of All Purpose Flour
  • 1 tsp Baking Soda (or 1/2 tsp baking soda + 1/2 tsp baking powder for chewy and crisp)
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1 stick Butter, softened to room temp (I actually like salted variety here)
  • 1/2 cup of Dark Brown Sugar
  • 6 Tbsp of Granulated Sugar
  • 1 large egg, room temp
  • 1 tsp Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 2 cups Semi Sweet Chocolate Chips
  • 1/2 cup Pecans, chopped
  • Coarse Sea Salt, to taste

*Preheat oven to 350

Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper (foil would work too).

•In a bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda & salt.

•In another larger mixing bowl, beat the softened butter, dark brown sugar & granulated sugar till creamy (med speed for about 2 minutes).

•Add in the egg, vanilla and mix on low till blended in.

•Slowly add in the flour mix till incorporated.

•With a wooden spoon, carefully stir in the chocolate chips & pecan pieces.

•Place cookie dough mounds (use large spoon or small ice cream scoop) about 2″ apart on the baking sheets.

•Bake for 10-12 minutes.  Take out of oven and lightly sprinkle tops with sea salt.

•Let cool on baking sheets for 5 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling.

*makes appx 24 cookies

*if you don’t have a stand mixer or a hand mixer, you can absolutely use a wooden spoon for all of this.  

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