Goodcookbecky's Blog

Letting the juices of life (or food) drip from my chin!


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Mediterranean Chopped Salad

IMG_8936Here is another lovely salad that I made.  I found this recipe in my America’s Test Kitchen Healthy Family Cookbook on page 74.  I love most of the recipes that I have tried from America’s Test Kitchen.  They are on TV on PBS as well.

Mediterranean Chopped Salad

adapted from America’s Test Kitchen Healthy Family Cookbook pg 74

Serves 6  Calories: 180/serving

Ingredients:

Salad:

  • 10 oz cherry tomatoes, cut in half (I love Cherub brand cherry tomatoes)
  • 1 cucumber, peeled, seeded and cut into pieces
  • 1 (15 oz) can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 cup pitted  kalamata olives, coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 cup minced red onion
  • 1 head red leaf lettuce, washed, dried, and chopped into bite size pieces
  • 3/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped

Dressing:

  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 3 Tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:

Combine the salad ingredients in a large salad bowl.

Combine the dressing ingredients in a small bowl and whisk to combine.  Pour over the salad and gently toss the salad.

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Garlic Sautéed Spinach

IMG_7203 - Version 2I am one of those people who happens to like spinach.  Especially fresh spinach.  This is another recipe by Ina Garten from her Barefoot Contessa Family Style Cookbook (p 124).  I find that all her recipes I have made so far have excellent results.  I used 2 pounds of spinach instead of 1 1/2 because I had two bunches to use.  The ingredient list is short and preparation to table is minutes.  It was tasty enough that my husband and I had seconds.

Garlic Sautéed Spinach

adapted from Ina Garten (Barefoot Contessa Family Style p 124)

Serves 6

Ingredients:

  • 2 (1 lb) bundles spinach, washed and spun dry in a salad spinner, stems removed
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • 3/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • juice of half a lemon
  • additional salt if desired

Instructions:

Heat a large stock pot over medium high heat and add olive oil.  Sauté the minced garlic in the olive oil, stirring frequently until fragrant, but not browned.  Add the washed and dried spinach to the stock pot and use tongs to coat the spinach with the garlic and olive oil.  Season with salt and pepper. Cover with a lid and cook for 2 minutes.  Remove the lid.

It will have wilted down substantially.

Add butter and the juice of half a lemon.  Toss the spinach with tongs to make sure all the flavors are coating the spinach.  Remove the spinach to a serving bowl.  Season with additional lemon juice and more salt if desired.  Serve hot.

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Kale Chips

IMG_7009I am sorry, it is a green leafy vegetable and I want nothing of it… right? That is what you are thinking!  That is what I thought, but I had so many of my foodie friends making them and raving about them so I had to see what it was all about!  Guess what?  They are good! No, I should say addictive!  I have to play keep-away from my 10 year old son!  He may love them even more than I do!  I baked them in batches, and before the next batch was done, the previous ones were gone!  I may need a 12 step program for these.  I over salted the very first batch, but they were still good, less salt on  the second batch I made and they were better.  The third and fourth batches I added a quality balsamic vinegar before baking them.  They were not bad, but I think the pure salt method is the way to go.  The ingredient list is overwhelming – oh wait 3 ingredients.  I think even my husband can handle that!

I did find this recipe from Pinterest which led me to a site that had a wonderful step by step description (link).

Kale Chips

Adapted from http://www.kitchentreaty.com/how-to-make-kale-chips/

They are all the rage!

Serves 1 if you are home alone.. otherwise share with up to 3 other people.

Ingredients

  • 1 bunch kale
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • ground sea salt

Preheat the oven to 300°F.

Wash the bunch of kale and then take scissors or a knife and cut the stem going up into the leaf out (almost the full length of the leaf).  Tear the kale leaves into 2 inch pieces.  Dry completely between paper towels, toss and dry again.. you want them as dry as possible.

Place the kale leaf pieces in a large salad bowl and pour 1 tablespoon of olive oil over the top and toss them with your hands to get as many of the leaves as possible coated with some of the olive oil.  Place about 1/4 of the leaves (as many as will fit comfortably on  a silicone lined cookie sheet as possible, without overcrowding them)  Grind sea salt over the leaves.

Place in the oven and bake for 8 to 12 minutes.  Depending on the type of kale you used it may take more or less time.  Mine was the curly kale and took a little over 12 minutes to crisp up and wilt some. Remove from the baking sheet and place on a pretty plate.. they will look pretty there for about 30 seconds before the vultures descend upon  the kale chips and make them vanish.

Notes: Kale will end up on my grocery list a lot more in the future because of this preparation.  What a great alternative to eating salty potato chips.  It satisfies the salty craving and is better for you too!  Will I be making these treasures again? Yes I think so, but now I am going to floss and brush my teeth because I have an appliance repair guy coming to fix my dryer!

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Tomato – Parmesan Appetizer

A few years back, when we were on our cruise in Hawaii, the cafeteria of the ship offered a roasted tomato and Parmesan dish for breakfast that I loved.  I recently have been addicted to Pinterest and found a version of these nuggets there.  Here is my twist. It would be great for finger food at a brunch, breakfast, or other gathering.

Tomato-Parmesan Appetizers

  • 3 tomatoes, sliced (on thick side- about 3 slices per average tomato- 5 in the larger ones)
  • salt
  • pepper
  • oregano
  • garlic powder
  • Parmesan cheese
  • drizzle of olive oil

Preheat oven to 450F.  Line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil.  Line the sheet with the tomato slices.

Season the slices of tomatoes with salt, pepper, garlic powder and a dash of oregano.  Top the tomato slices each with 1-2 teaspoons of shredded Parmesan cheese (or more if you like).  Drizzle with olive oil.

Bake for about 15 minutes at 450 F.  Cool slightly and enjoy.

 

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Chicken Breasts with Mushrooms and Cream

Part 3: Main Course:

  1. Chicken Breasts with Mushrooms and Cream Sauce (Supremes de Volaille aux Champignons- Julia Child)
  2. Buttered Green Beans I (Haricots Verts a l’ Anglaise- Julia Child)
  3. Scalloped Potatoes with Milk, Cheese, and a pinch of Garlic (Gratin Dauphinois – Julia Child)

We really liked the scalloped potatoes and buttered beans.  I have had more flavorful chicken, but it was not bad.  The sauce was good.  The recipe is pretty involved for the chicken, but it was certainly still in the good category.  Julia Child really explains her recipes well.  The steps are well spelled out.

Chicken Breasts with Mushrooms and Cream Sauce

(Supremes de Volaille aux Champignons- adapted from Julia Child – Mastering the Art of French Cooking pg 269)

Serves 6

Ingredients:

  • 5 Tbsp butter
  • 1 Tbsp minced shallots
  • 1/4 lb sliced fresh mushrooms
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 6 chicken breast halves, boneless, skinless
  • 1/2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • pinch of pepper

For the sauce:

  • 1/2 cup beef broth
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • salt and pepper
  • Lemon juice as needed
  • 2 Tbsp fresh minced parsley

Instructions:

Preheat the oven to 400- 425 F (I had it at 425 for the potatoes)

For the Chicken:  Heat the butter in a large skillet over moderate heat until it is foaming.  Add the minced shallot and cook for a minute or two, without browning the shallot.  Add the mushrooms and cook stirring from time to time, but not browning the mushrooms.  Season with salt.

Sprinkle the chicken breast halves with lemon juice and season with salt and pepper.  Quickly roll the chicken in the butter and mushrooms.  Butter a piece of waxed paper on one side.  Lay the paper buttered side down onto the chicken breasts.  Cover the skillet with a lid and put in the preheated oven.  After 6 minutes press your finger on the chicken breasts to test if they are done.  (If the chicken is soft to touch it still needs time to cook, if it springs back they are ready).  Remove the chicken to a warm platter and prepare the sauce.

For the sauce:  Pour the beef broth and white wine into the skillet with the mushrooms and butter.  Bring it to boil and reduce the liquid until it is syrupy.  Add the whipping cream and reduce liquid to thicken slightly.  Turn off the heat and taste adjust the seasoning with additional salt and pepper and lemon juice if desired.  Pour the sauce over the chicken and sprinkle with parsley.  Serve while hot.

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Buttered Green Beans I

(Haricots Verts a l’ Anglaise- (adapted from Julia Child Mastering the Art of French Cooking page 444)

Serves 6-8

Ingredients:

3 lbs hot blanched green beans

salt and pepper, to taste

4 Tbsp butter, cut into pieces

Preparation:

Cook the green beans in a covered saucepan with 1 inch of water, and 1 tsp of salt.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat and cover.  Steam the green beans for about 10 minutes, or until crisp tender.  Pour off the water.  Heat the beans to evaporate the excess water.  Season with salt and pepper and toss.  Pour into a prepared serving dish.  Dot the green beans with pieces of butter.  Serve while hot.

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Scalloped Potatoes with Milk, Cheese, and a pinch of Garlic

Gratin Dauphinois – (adapted from Julia Child Mastering the Art of French Cooking page 523)

Serves 6-8

Ingredients:

  • 6-7 cups Russet potatoes, peeled and sliced into 1/8″ slices
  • 1/2 clove garlic, cut in two
  • 4 Tbsp butter
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp pepper
  • 4 oz grated Swiss cheese (optional, but if you do omit it increase the butter by 2 Tbsp)
  • 1 cup boiling milk

Instructions:

Preheat the oven to 425 F.

Peel and slice the potatoes 1/8 inch thick.  Keep them in a bowl of water until you need them to prevent browning.  Drain and dry on paper towels when ready to use.

Rub the bottom and sides of the baking dish with the slices of garlic to give it a little flavor.  Coat the baking dish with butter.  Place 1/2 of the sliced potatoes in a neat layer along the bottom of the baking dish.  Season with salt and pepper, sprinkle with 1/2 of the cheese and dot with half the butter.  Repeat with a layer of potatoes, season, sprinkle with cheese and butter.  Pour the boiling milk over the potatoes and bake at 425F for 20-30 minutes.  If they are just underdone, cover with foil and allow them to sit for about 10 minutes while you finish other parts of your meal – or bake them another 5 minutes.

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Roasted Garlic Cauliflower

Here is a recipe from allrecipes.com.  It is one of the best recipe sites on the internet in my opinion.  Recipes are rated by members and if you choose a 4 or 5 star recipe you have a pretty good rate of success.  In my organic produce box, I had a nice head of cauliflower.  I don’t LOVE the vegetable, but this recipe is good.  I think next time I will add cooked crumbled bacon to the dish just before broiling the Parmesan cheese.  My husband supports that idea, as all things are made better with bacon!  I did not have fresh parsley on hand and omitted it.  For the original recipe click on the allrecipes link above.  I included the change with the bacon (which I didn’t actually do this time, but think it would work nicely).

Roasted Garlic Cauliflower

adapted from allrecipes.com

Serves 6

  • 2 Tbsp minced garlic (about 6 large cloves)
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large head of cauliflower, cut into small florets
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 4 strips of bacon, cooked and crumbled (optional)
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:

Preheat the oven to 450F.  Spray a casserole dish with cooking spray.

Combine the minced garlic, olive oil and cauliflower in a large zip-lock bag and shake to mix.  Pour the cauliflower into the casserole dish.  Season with salt and pepper.

Bake the cauliflower for 25 minutes, stirring half way through cooking time.  Stir in the bacon crumbles and top with Parmesan cheese.  Broil under high broil for 3-5 minutes, until the cheese is golden.

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Grilled Asparagus

I love asparagus!  I think it is one of the best veggies around.  When asparagus is readily available, I smile.  Two years ago though, I started to develop an allergy to it.  I first noticed that when I would eat asparagus my scalp would be itchy for about an hour after eating them.  I figured maybe it was because I ate canned asparagus that time.  Maybe it was the solution they can it in.  So I rinsed them and ate them- still an itchy scalp.  Okay.. maybe I can eat fresh.. nope.. itchy scalp.  But hey an hour later I am feeling fine again right?.. it is a small price to pay!  I continued to eat asparagus from time to time.. only each time I ate them, my allergy would get more severe.  Now I break out in full time hives, so I don’t eat it as often.  Recently I got a box of organic produce and it had asparagus in it.  Of course.. now that I had it, I had to eat it right?  It is after all, asparagus!  I popped a Benadryl before starting to cook.  After eating only two spears of asparagus,I still was itchy, but I didn’t get hives!  Sniff.  I am getting itchy as I write this 😉  I sure hope I don’t develop an allergy to Avocado- or worse yet: bacon!  That would be the worst! 🙂

Preparation:

Wash the asparagus and remove about 1/2 inch of the stem if it is woody, otherwise just trim the ends.  Mine were small and not at all woody, so they only needed a trim.

I heated a grill pan and placed the asparagus on it.  Drizzled them with olive oil and seasoned with ground sea salt and ground pepper.  Turning them every few minutes until they looked grilled with a few char marks.  Place on a platter and season with additional salt and pepper.  Serve.  Enjoy (them for me- for I will be taking a break from eating them again).