The Guardian

Monday, April 29, 2013

Grilled Artichokes






 
Grilled Artichokes
 

 
I had a velia for grilled artichokes tonight and since my hubby didn't come home, I thought it was the best night to make them..haha...trial and error... Me and my mom love the Chokes at The Cheesecake Factory so I tried to imitate them. I think I did well. I am not the originator of grilled artichokes but this is my version...First I boiled them and then I fried them. I hope you enjoy them!! Enjoy!!
 
Ingredients:
 
2 Whole Artichokes
4 Tablespoons of Olive Oil
Salt & Pepper to season
3 Tablespoons Grated Parmigiana Regina
 
Directions:
 
Cleaning the chokes is the biggest part. I cut them in half and took the entire "Flower" part out of them. This includes the "Pink Flower" part and the "Furry" part. Then clip all the Points off the artichoke.  Place the halves in a large pot of boiling water for 35 minutes. Take the halves out and place on a dish. Then take a non-stick frying pan and half of the oil. Place Artichoke halves in frying pan and season both sides with salt, pepper and remaining olive oil. Heat pan until medium heat and fry halves. I used a lid to smash chokes down as in picture above. Fry on one side for 7 minutes and then flip and repeat. Once cooked place on  serving dish and sprinkle with Parm Cheese.  Enjoy!!!
 
 
 


Sunday, April 28, 2013

Baked Penne with Pork Sausage

 
 
Baked Penne with Pork Sausage
 
This is my family's most favorite meal. It is my most convenient and quickest meal ever!!! It can be made low fat with using Wheat Pasta and low fat Mozzarella Cheese. Also, instead of using Pork Sausage you can use grilled chicken breast or BBQ'ed Chicken/Turkey Hot dogs. I have used all of the above to make this dish and it was fabulous! My husband likes the Hot Dogs the best. haha....If you make a pot of gravy on the weekends, use that to fold everything together. FYI, you can also use that Gravy to make pizza's and Stromboli's. Do you see how leftover's can be used to make a completely whole new dish? It's easy!! I'll show you how to use boiled and sauteed broccoli into Cream of Broccoli soup!! Enjoy!!
 
Ingredients:
1 pound Penne pasta (Wheat or white)
2 Cups of Gravy (red) use recipe in blog.
2 Cups Mozzarella Cheese
3/4 pound Chopped Sweet Pork Sausage cooked, sauteed  or BBQ (no Sauce)
Salt and Pepper to taste
 
Directions:
 
Pre heat oven to 350. Boil a pot of salted water to cook 1 pound of Penne. While the water for the pasta is boiling, slice cooked sausage and place in a casserole dish. Heat up gravy. Cook Penne and drain water. Add penne to sausage. Add 1/2 of the gravy and 1/2 of the Cheese. Mix well. add the rest of gravy, salt and pepper and the rest of the cheese. Bake for 35 min with a covered aluminum foil.
Then take off foil and broil on high until your liking. My family likes the toasted pieces of penne but please adjust to your liking. Enjoy!!!
 
 



Friday, April 26, 2013

Lemon Chicken



 
Lemon Chicken
 
 
Sorry I haven't posted lately like I did in the beginning but last week was in the  "I'm not cooking this week" mood....hahaha....But when I post --They are all my recipes and I actually cooked everything....I decided to make a simple dish tonight for dinner. I had about 45 minutes to get something together so I did a little extra with the chicken. I dipped them in an egg wash and flour and added the Sliced Baby Portabella mushrooms. It turned out really good. 
PS- I made this dish with a side of boiled Broccoli with olive oil and lemon and Instant Polenta made with Chicken Broth! It really was a great meal! :) I hope you enjoy!!
 
 
Ingredients:
 
2 pounds of boneless chicken breast sliced into cutlet pieces ( Its more economical that way)
2 eggs
salt and pepper to taste
1 large package of Portabella Mushrooms sliced
3 scallions cleaned, trimmed & diced
2 Tablespoons of butter
3Tablespoons of Olive Oil
2 cup of white all purpose Flour
A handful of chopped fresh Parsley
1 Whole lemon and 2 teaspoons of Lemon Juice
1/2 cup chicken broth
1 Teaspoon of Lowery's garlic salt or lemon pepper
1/4 cup of Heavy cream (Optional)
 
Directions:
 
After you clean and cut the chicken salt and pepper both sided and place aside. Take the two eggs and place them in a bowl and beat with a dash of salt, pepper and Lowery's. Mix well then add chicken pieces until all chicken is covered completely in an egg wash. Set aside. Take flour and add it to a flat dish. Flour all the chicken and set aside. Take a non-stick frying pan an add the butter and olive oil heat on medium heat until butter is melted, not browned!! . Fry the chicken until the chicken has a golden color. It does not have to be cooked all the way. Once chicken is finished place it on a separate dish. Continue until all the chicken is fried.
If you have to add more butter or oil do so now. Add the sliced Mushrooms and diced Scallions to the same frying pan.Saute until mushrooms are soft and cooked. Put mushrooms on a separate dish. Place chicken back into the same frying pan and add the mushrooms on top. Add the chicken broth and lemon juice and let simmer on medium-low heat until cooked. You could add a splash of heavy cream at this point if you'd like. Once chicken is cooked add fresh parsley and let simmer for another five minutes. To serve add sliced lemon for garnish. This dish is can be placed served and pasta of your choice or served alone with some mashed potatoes on the side and Veggie of your choice. Enjoy!!
 
 


Wednesday, April 24, 2013

BBQ Chicken Taco Salad


 
BBQ SALAD
 
This is a great salad for Kids. There are so many fun extras that were added to make this salad special. My son Nick absolutely loved it. The chicken that is shown on top was from a chicken cutlet dinner that I had made the previous night. All I did to make it BBQ was saute it in a pan with BBQ sauce for a few minutes and it absorbed all the great flavors. I forgot to take the picture with Salsa and Sour cream because my son likes it plain....hahah.....To me this dish is semi-homemade and weight watcher friendly This dinner is for a friendly Friday nigh,t no cook, use left overs, Dinner. Enjoy! 
 
 
Ingredients:
 
 
1 Store bought Taco Shell
1 head of Romain Lettuce
1/4 cup of Raisins or Dried Cranberries
1/4 cup of prepared rice or risotto
2 tablespoons of Flavored Almonds
1/2 Cup of Sauteed Broccoli
3 Tablespoons of BBQ Ranch Salsa Dressing
Salt and Pepper to taste
3 Chicken cutlets
3 Tablespoons BBQ sauce (I use Stubb's Original)
Top with Salsa and non-fat Sour Cream
 
Chicken:
 
Fry Chicken Cutlets as instructed in my blog. Take a separtate non stick frying pan and spray with olive oil. Add chicken and BBQ sauce and cook on low for 5 minutes. Chop into pieces. Add to salad.
 
Directions:
 
Take a hard shell taco bowl (that you can buy at a store) and place it on a dish. Add cleaned cut lettuce. Add dressing and salt and pepper. Add the rest of the ingredients in layers. Add BBQ Chicken last. Top with salsa and sour cream.
Toss and Enjoy!
 
 


Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Gemelli Verdure





Gemelli Verdue
 
 
This is a spoof of my Sauteed Veggie dish. It can be made as the main dish or use the veggies to make an awesome "leftover" dish. The only extra ingredients I used were heavy cream,condensed Knorr Chicken Broth square (not Cubes), Black Olives and no Peppers. This dish is a wonderful dish to serve the In-laws. They will really think you cooked all day. That is not the case! The veggie portion can be made the day before, put in the fridge and reheated the day you want to serve the pasta dish. No one will ever know! I hope you like this very healthy dish!! (made with or without the heavy cream) Enjoy!!

Ingredients:

1 Leek stalk cleaned and cut into circle pieces
1 Sweet onion cut into thin long slices
3 small Carrots peeled and diced
2 Scallion stalks cleaned diced
3 whole cloves of garlic
1/2 can of Small Black Pitted olives diced
A Large Handful of Chopped Flat Leaf Parsley
Salt and Cracked Pepper to season
2 Knorr Condensed Chicken Broth Squares (not the hard Cubes)
2 Cups of water
1 Cup Heavy Cream (Optional but I did use it in the above recipe)
3 Tablespoons of Olive Oil
1-2 Cups of Salted Pasta water (After pasta is cooked)
2 Tablespoons of Diced fresh Basil
1 Handful of Parmesan Cheese
1 Tablespoon of hot pepper (optional)


Directions:

Heat oil in a non-stick frying pan on medium heat until ready. Add the onions, carrots, scallions,leeks garlic, salt & pepper and parsley into the pan and saute until translucent and soft. Add olives and mix for 3 minutes. Add water and condensed Knorr Squares. Let simmer for 10 minutes and then add Heavy Cream. Add a bit more salt and Pepper and then let simmer on very low heat.
Start to boil water for 1 pound of Gemelli pasta. Once Pasta is boiling add salt to correctly salt water. I actually taste the water to make sure it can be used to add to pasta. Add pasta and cook until al dente. (semi-hard NOT Mushy). Then you are going to strain pasta into a serving bowl so that you can reserve the water. Add Veggie mixture to the bowl and toss. Then add the salted pasta water to your pasta and veggies with a soup ladle. If you like it more soupy then you should add more water, if you like it more dense then add less. Garnish with diced Fresh basil and Parmesan cheese if you want too!! I also add a bit of hot pepper!! Some like it Hot! Enjoy!!!!







Making Sunday Dinner: Pepperoni Stromboli

Making Sunday Dinner: Pepperoni Stromboli:   Pepperoni Stromboli     Usually I make Stromboli and Pizza's on Friday. Tonight I only made s...

Sauteed Veggies


 
Sauteed Veggies
 
 
This was a side dish that I made with my BBQ dinner Sunday night and it was very well received. Everyone ate them especially the kids! The trick is to saute each vegetable separately and then add them to a dish and mix together at the end. Every vegetable takes on the flavor of the other. It's very scrumptious and the combinations of vegetables are endless. Enjoy!
 
 
Ingredients:
 
 
1 Large Sweet Onion
1 Stalk of leeks
2 Stalks of Scallions
2 Orange Peppers
1 Red Pepper
1 Container of White Button Mushrooms
Salt and cracked black pepper to season
1 Teaspoons of Lowry's Garlic Salt
Handful Fresh chopped Flat Leaf Parsley
6 Tablespoons of Olive Oil
A Sprinkle of Hot Pepper Flakes (optional) 

Directions:

First slice onion in long strips, Wash and cut leek stalk, slice up scallions into small circle pieces. Take a frying pan and add 2 Tablespoons of Olive Oil and heat on medium heat. Add the sliced onions, and leeks to pan with salt, pepper and 1/3 of fresh chopped parsley. Saute until tender and translucent not burned. Then place on you serving dish. Take frying pan off heat. Slice all peppers into long strips. Then add 2 more tablespoons of olive oil to pan and heat.  Then add peppers, salt, Black pepper, and 1/3 of parsley. Saute on med-low heat until pepper are bendable not burned. Then add the sauteed peppers on top of sauteed onions. Take pan off heat until all mushrooms are cleaned and sliced. Then add remaining oil and heat up once more. Once heated add Mushrooms, salt, cracked pepper and the remaining fresh parsley. Saute until mushrooms are soft and cooked. There might be extra liquid that the mushrooms created when they cooked. Add 1/2 of this water and all the mushrooms to the onion and pepper mixture. Add the Lowry's, hot pepper flakes and toss gently. Enjoy!

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Pollo Christinella











 
Pollo Christinella
 
Hey Everyone, How are Ya? So I decided to make a creamy chicken dish that was total soul food as far as my liking is concerned. You only need a couple of main ingredients: Butter, Butter, and chicken..haha. Well there are a few more ingredients but I really like this combination of flavors and I hope you will too. The ingredients are simple and probably in your cabinet. This dish is best served over white rice or any pasta of your liking. It will definitely be a crowd pleaser and it will be kid approved! Since this is not a real recipe that I have ever heard of, I decided to name it after what my grandma used to call me "Christinella" and not Christina. I don't know why she did that but it always made me feel special. I hope you all Enjoy!!!
 
 
Ingredients:
 
2 tablespoons of butter
3 Tablespoons of Olive Oil
2 Pounds of cleaned Chicken breasts cut into strips
Salt & Pepper
1 Tablespoons of Lowry's Garlic Salt
Handful of Fresh Chopped Parsley
1/2 bag of Frozen Corn
4 Potato's Boiled and cut into bit sized pieces
 (sauteed with Olive Oil and seasoned with salt, pepper and parsley)
10 pitted Calamatta Olives cut into slices
1 Cup of Fresh, prepared  or Frozen Spinach
(I used MY Broccoli Rabe that I had in the fridge, either is great)
1 Can of Cream of Chicken (prepared as instructed) 26 ounces
 
Directions:
 
Take a non-stick Frying pan and heat up the oil and butter until butter is melted. Add the salted, peppered and Lowry's Garlic salted Chicken strips to the pan and fry both sides until golden. Add corn, olives and prepared potato's. Add prepared Cream of Chicken soup. Add spinach. Add Parsley and saute mixture for 20 minutes on a low heat. Add this mixture over pasta or cooked rice of your choice. I ate it with toasted Ciabatta Bread, made it into a sandwich and then dunked the juice out of it!!  Total Comfort Food. Enjoy!!!!
 
 
 
 
 


Friday, April 12, 2013

Homemade Cheese Pizza




Homemade Cheese Pizza
 
 
Last night I was in the mood for pizza so I decided to whip one up. I used my own dough and homemade tomato sauce. There are not too many ingredients in this recipe so the your shopping list will not be long. The recipe for the dough was listed previously in my Pepperoni Stromboli Link. It's quite simple and you could even use store bought pizza dough or even pizza dough from your favorite pizza place or Bread store. Since today happens to be a rainy Friday, this might be perfect for dinner and fun to make with the kids too! Enjoy!


Ingredients:


1 1/2 - 2 Pounds of Pizza Dough
1 Cup Mozzarella Cheese
Salt & Pepper
Handful of Fresh Chopped Basil plus a handful of whole basil for sauce
4 Tablespoons of Olive Oil
2 Teaspoon Garlic Salt
Handful of Fresh Parsley
3 Whole Peeled Garlic Cloves
2 Can Chopped Tomatoes
1 Cup of flour

Directions for the Sauce:

Blend the 1 can of chopped tomatoes in a blender until smooth. In a pot, add 2 tablespoons of Olive Oil and the garlic cloves. On medium heat, heat the oil and garlic until the garlic starts to sizzle, not turn brown. If it turns brown, throw it out and start over because if you don't your sauce will also have that burnt taste. Once the garlic is sizzling, add the blended can of tomatoes and the can of chopped tomato's with it's juices. Let this simmer for 15 minutes and then add the whole basil, salt and pepper and 1 teaspoon of garlic salt. Let simmer for another 20 minutes on low heat. Your sauce is finished. You will definitely have left over sauce because this will not all be needed for the pizza but you can use this sauce as a base to make almost any meal you want to OR make 2 pizza's..lol


How to Prepare Pizza:

Pre-heat oven to 350. Stretch out dough on floured surface with a floured rolling pin. Once you have your dough to the appropriate form, make sure it is not too thin or has holes in it. Place your dough on a pizza sheet. I do not spray my pan or rub oil on it but I have in the past, so you can do that if you'd like before placing dough on sheet. Now you are ready to build your pizza. First add your sauce that you made previously. This is where "Less is More" kind of helps. You will probably use about 1/2 cup to 3/4 of a cup. I put it on with a serving spoon. It makes it easier to make a judgement call on the amount of sauce I use. Leave about a 1 1/2" space around the perimeter of pizza dough. Once the sauce is added, take the remaining olive oil and mix it with salt and pepper and the remaining garlic salt in a dish. Take a brush and brush this mixture around the edge of the dough so that it will cook nice and crunchy in the oven. Then add your Mozzarella cheese to the top of the sauce. Place pizza on middle shelf in oven and let it cook for about 30 minutes. To get an extra crispy top, put the broiler on high and let pizza sit for another minute. My family likes it a little more cooked so that is why I will use the broiler at the end. When the pizza is finished cooking place on counter for 5 minutes to cool and then add fresh chopped basil to garnish. Enjoy!

 

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Chicken Nuggets with Homemade Dipping Sauce



 
Chicken Nuggets with Homemade Dipping Sauce
 
Tonight I made Chicken Nuggets with my Minestrone Soup (Published). I hope my kids appreciate this...hahaha... So This is very easy to do and I made the sauce from scratch also. It is so simple and the ingredients will be in your cabinet for sure. I know that my kiddies will eat this up!! Hopefully they leave some for my hubby!! haha ENJOY!!
 
 
Ingredients:
2 pounds of Chicken Breasts cleaned & cut into nugget sized bits
1 Egg plus one yolk
2 cups of Milk
1/2 cup of Dill Pickel Juice
Salt & Pepper to Taste
2 Cups fo Flour
2 Tablespoons of Powdered Sugar
2 Tablespoons of Dried Parsley
2 Cups Vegtable Oil to fry Chicken Nuggets
 
Dipping Sauce:
2 tablespoons Lemon Juice
2 cups Light Mayo
3 Tablespoons BBQ Sauce
3 Tablespoons Honey
Salt & Pepper to taste
2 Tablesspoons Honey Mustard
 
Directions:
 
Mix the egg and egg yolk, milk, salt & pepper, Parsley and Pickel Juice in a bowl. Add the chicekn  Nuggets. Let sit for 15 minutes or until flour mixture is ready. Add Flour, powdered sugar, salt and pepper in a dish. Dip Chicken from eggwash to flour mixture. Add oil to frying pan and heat on meadium heat. Add the chicken and fry until ready (as in picture above). Lay chicken on a paper towel to drain oil. Mix the dipping sauce ingredients together until a smooth sauce is created. Place on dish an serve. Enjoy!!!
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 


Minestroni Soup

MINESTRONE SOUP





 
Minestrone Soup
 
 
Tonight I made a Minestrone Soup. My mom was sick and even though it was 80 degrees today...lol...I made a vegetable SOUP for her. She was very happy that she did not have to get up and cook. In this recipie I used the potato's from my left over "Italian Potato Salad. I do not like left overs and I try to use what I have to create new meals for my family so that dinner is always different and exciting. This is the easiest soup to make and can totally be re-made 2 days later with pastini and some salted pasta water for a whole new meal. This soup even freezes well. This pairs well with Chicken Cutlets and a tossed salad. I hope you all ENJOY!!
 
 
Ingredients:
1 large sweet onion sauteed (Can be done the day before)
1 package of white button mushroom sauteed (Can be done the day before)
1/2 bag of frozen peas
1/2 bag of frozen corn
1/2 bag of frozen spinach
1 bag of Lima Beans
1 can of Canalli Beans - (No juice)
1 can diced tomato's (No juice)
2 large containers of Chicken Broth (48 ounces each)
2 Knorr Homestyle Chicken Stock (Concentrated Stock)
1 Whole Leek cleaned & diced
3 Diced Scallions
2 Carrots peeled & diced
2 large white potato's diced...I used the potatoes from my "Italian Potato Salad" recipe
2 Bunches of Asparagus ends diced....(When I make my asparagus I save and dice the ends that I don't use and then I freeze them for when I make this soup) They do not need to be added if you do not have them.
 
Directions:
 
Using a Large Stock Pot add the chicken broth until warm and then all the veggies with the potato's added last. Cook on a high medium for 20 minutes and then bring down to a low boil for another 30 minutes. This soup is great served with some grated cheese. All the veggies that need to be sauteed can be done the day before to shorten your cooking time. I hope you ENJOY!!
 
 
 


Friday, April 5, 2013

Risotto Con Pancetta






Risotto con Pancetta
 
 
This is your classic Rice with Bacon recipe. It could also be made with Fagoli (Beans) however I was out of beans and as usual, I modified!! I had made BLTs for lunch that day, so I already had the bacon!! I rarely let anything go to waste. It's a mortal sin...hahaha. So this is the most easiest, scrumptious and fastest dish you can make  assuming all the ingredients are in your fridge. It's a matter of making a list of dinners you want to make for the week and incorporating each dinner into the next. Simple in theory but needs imagination to preform. The more you cook the better you will become at it. Let's begin! Enjoy!
 
 
Ingredients:
 
1 1/2 cups of rice. I used Carolina White Rice for this dish. It's a lighter rice.
Salt for water to boil
8 slices of cooked chopped bacon
2 cups of prepared red "Gravy" with 3 cooked carrots and a small cooked onion
(Chopped as above picture)
Handful of Fresh Whole Basil
Fresh Parmesan Cheese to garnish, if you'd like
 
*If you want beans in this: 1 Can of Red Kidney Beans
 
 
Directions:
 
Bring a pot of salted water and rice to boil. Remember to fill pot with enough water to cover rice. Once the rice is 1/2 way cooked, add the gravy, carrots, onions, basil and beans (Only If you want the beans).
Finish to cook rice until it is al dente (This means cooked firm NOT hard). When you dish the soupy rice into dish add the bacon in the middle to garnish with the cheese, if preferred.
 
 
 


Pepperoni Stromboli











 
Pepperoni Stromboli
 
 
Usually I make Stromboli and Pizza's on Friday. Tonight I only made stromboli..haha. Oh well, it will have to do. This is so easy to make and such a better alternative than ordering pizza or Stromboli's out. At least you put your TLC into it and the dough can be made before work and the stromboli can be made when you get home. The kids will LOVE putting this together...I know mine do. Enjoy!!
 
Ingredients:
 
3 1/2 cups of flour plus 3 tablespoons
1 1/2 cups of warm water mixed with 2 tablespoons of Yeast
A splash of Olive Oil
A dash of salt

3/4 sliced pepperoni (Thin)
2 Cups of Mozzarella Cheese
1 Egg Beaten (For an egg wash)
1 Cup of extra Flour for rolling dough out and use a handful on rolling pin too.

Directions:

Mix together Yeast and warm water in a 2 cup measuring cup and beat well with a whisk. Add this to the bowl of the mixer with the salt, and flour. Using dough hook, mix ingredients well. You want your dough to completely leave the bowl and stay on the hook without being tacky or sticky. If it is too sticky, add more flour by the tablespoon. Once The dough is done, take out of mixer and rub with the olive oil. Just a splash of olive oil...no more. Then take roll and transfer to a glass mixing bowl. Take a piece of plastic wrap and spray with cooking spray and then cover the glass bowl. You are doing this because if the dough rises to the plastic, it won't stick to it because you have sprayed it. Then cover the bowl with a cloth and let sit for 2 -4 hours. I have even let my dough sit longer depending on my work schedule. When you are ready to make the Stromboli, Pre-heat oven to 350 and then flour a work surface and rolling pin liberally. Take dough and massage it for a few minutes. Then you are going to roll the dough out like the picture above. Layer the dough with the pepperoni and then the cheese. Roll the dough up very carefully. Place the stromboli on a baking sheet. Beat one egg very well and paint the Eggwash on the stromboli. Take a knife a make slices onto the top of stromboli so that the Stromboli can breath while cooking. Cook for 45 minutes up to 1 hour depending on how toasty you want the stromboli to look like. I usually do 1 hour. Take out of the oven and let sit covered for 10 minutes before serving. Enjoy!!