Saturday, August 31, 2013

The Easiest Chicken Parmesan You Will Ever Make!

If you don't know by now, I am a shopper.  When I go to the grocery store, I am there for hours trying to find new things, reading everything, and looking for ways to make fast meals that taste good.  I had coupons for these Perdue Perfect Portions Chicken Breasts, so I decided what the heck I'll try them, and they were on sale.  I bought a couple of  packages and put them in the freezer.  They are also individually wrapped which is great, because you only have to use what you need, and they come seasoned in a few different flavors.  These are the Italian Style ones, they come 5 to a pack.  I made an easy chicken parmesan out of them, the recipe is below.

A few of the other ingredients I already had on hand.  Served with a side dish of farfalle with parmesan.
Into a skillet with a little extra virgin olive oil, brown and cook on both sides.
Small casserole dish layered with sauce and fresh basil then add the chicken.
Top with cheese, and more cheese and fresh basil....
Sauce and more cheese and basil....
All baked and ready to be devoured with....
Farfalle with cheese ....
Salad and Italian bread.


2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 pkg. Perdue Perfect Portions Chicken Breast, Italian Style
1 25 oz. jar of pasta sauce
1 small bunch of fresh basil
1 cup of grated parmesan cheese
1 8 oz. pkg. of shredded Italian cheese mix

In a large skillet cook the chicken in the olive oil until done and browned on both sides.  In the casserole dish pour 1 cup of the pasta sauce and spread out on the bottom.  Rip half of the basil leaves over the sauce. Place the chicken in the dish to cover the bottom.  Sprinkle 1/2 cup of the parmesan cheese then 1/2 of the bag of the shredded cheese.  Top with sauce, then the other half of the ripped basil leaves and then layer the other half of the cheeses. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 25 - 30 minutes until all cheese is melted and bubbly.  Makes 5 servings

Friday, August 30, 2013

Who Wants Ice Cream!

I've made vanilla, raspberry and peach ice cream this summer and they were really good, check out the recipes in some of my earlier blogs. This is the first time I made chocolate ice cream, and let me tell you it is AWESOME!  Rich double chocolate flavor and creamy texture, all in one. It's not hard to make at all and it is better tasting than store bought.  Recipe below.

Always use whole milk and heavy cream it has a lot to do with the texture.  Cream and milk heating together.
Chop up the semi - sweet chocolate.  It should look like this.
Add the rest of the ingredients and you have ice cream in the making.
Creamy and smooth and into a cold bath to cool off.
Cover the top by lightly pressing the plastic wrap onto the mixture so a skin does not form. Put into the refrigerator to thicken and then transfer to the ice cream maker.
Churn it up, freeze it and it's ice cream time!

Rich Double Chocolate Ice Cream

1 1/2 cups of whole milk
1 1/2 cups of heavy cream, sometimes labeled whipping cream
1/2 cup of unsweetened cocoa powder
4  1 oz. cubes of semi - sweet chocolate
4 large egg yolks, lightly beaten
1 cup of sugar
1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract

Combine the milk and cream in a large heavy saucepan.  Bring the mixture to a simmer over medium heat.  In the meantime, very finely, chop up the chocolate cubes so they will melt easily.  When milk/cream is simmered, little bubbles around the edges but not boiling, turn off the heat and whisk in the cocoa until there are no lumps and completely combined. Then add the chopped chocolate and whisk until melted.  Set aside.

Prepare a cold bath by filling a large bowl halfway with ice and water. Set up another bowl with a mesh strainer on top.  Keep these to the side for use later.

Whisk the egg yolks until smooth, then gradually add the sugar until the mixture is very light yellow in color and becomes thick.  Slowly pour 1/4 of the chocolate milk/cream mixture into the egg/sugar combo, stirring quickly as you are pouring, so the eggs don't scramble. This is called tempering.  Once it is combined, pour that mix back into the saucepan with the remaining chocolate milk/cream mixture and stir everything together. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon until the mixture thickens, when you run your finger over the back of the spoon and the mixture does not run back together it's done.

Remove from the heat and pour through the mesh strainer that is over the bowl.   Lightly pushing with the back of a wooden spoon, press on the strainer so any remaining chocolate goes through it and there are no lumps. Scrape the bottom of the strainer.  Place the bowl into the ice cold water bath and let sit for 30 minutes to cool.  When cooled place a piece of plastic wrap directly on top of the mixture so a skin does not form. Cover the bowl with another piece of plastic wrap and put into the refrigerator for 4 hours.  Remove the plastic wrap and scrape any of the mixture off.  Churn according to your ice cream makers instructions. It should only take about 20 -30 minutes to churn.  Transfer into a covered container and freeze overnight.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Lazy Mary Fettuccine - Mangia! Mangia!

My name is not Mary, and I AM NOT lazy hahaha! but this is my short version of Fettuccine when I am in a hurry and everyone is hungry.  I put together this fast, easy, and great tasting recipe for Fettuccine Alfredo with Asparagus and Chicken. When you don't have a lot of time to cook, this is the dish to make.  No asparagus, or don't like it, use green peas, cut whole green beans or anything you like.  That's why it's 
e-a-s-y.  My whole family loves Italian food, go figure, we're Italian.  If they like it, it must be a winner.

Brown up the chicken and cook the asparagus in a skillet with a little olive oil.  Here's the sauce.
I buy these egg nests at Wegmans, cook according to the package directions, we like ours al dente.
Creamy and good.
Make the salad while the pasta is cooking.  The Garlic Expressions Dressing is also from Wegmans, it is not garlicky at all, it's just a very good Italian dressing.  Don't forget the bread and wine.  The wine is an old family favorite Italian table wine.  I remember my grandfather use to drink this all the time, and it still comes in the jug! He also made his own, as well as, dandelion wine.  It's a very smooth wine and great with an Italian meal.

Fettuccine Alfredo with Chicken and Asparagus

2 Tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 package of precooked chicken strips
1 medium size bunch of asparagus
1 jar of Bertolli Alfredo Sauce
1 package of Delverde Egg Tagliatelle Nests No. 91
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano - Reggiano Cheese
Salt and Pepper

Start a pot of water on high heat with 1 Tbsp. salt.  To a skillet - the 2 Tbsp. of olive oil and add the chicken, break up any really big pieces. Cook until the chicken is slightly browned.  Remove from pan to a plate.  Wash, pat dry, and snap the ends off the asparagus and cut on the diagonal.  Add the asparagus to the pan and saute just until tender, it should still be crunchy, not mushy.  Remove from heat and onto the plate with the chicken. When water has started to boil add the pasta (4 nests will serve 4 people) and stir.  Continue to cook until it is done to your taste.  Drain the pasta. Combine the chicken and asparagus with the pasta then pour in the Alfredo sauce.   Sprinkle the grated cheese over the top and some fresh black pepper.  Serves 4.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Can't Get Enough Of Shoes!

Since I had my first job, working in a medical lab at age 16 and making my own spending money, I have always had a shoe problem, and still do.  I love shoes and can't get enough of them.  I went browsing again yesterday and came home with a few bargains.  Merlot is a big color this Fall and I didn't have anything that color, so I went on a hunt for it.  These are a few of the things I found while out and about, it was a very short trip.

Left - Stone/Putty color leather peep toe wedge with metal/leather bow by Nine West - Marshall's, $29.99
Right - Merlot colored ballerina shoe with studded ruffle - Target, $19.99
 All at AVENUE - Long White/Gold Enameled Flower Necklace - originally $16.00, Sale $6.96
Matching Earrings - originally $10.00, Sale $2.96
Matching Bracelet - originally $16.00, Sale $4.96
One last thing - Found this cute little summer dress at Dressbarn on sale for $25.00
Rhinestone Studded Gladiator Sandals - Avenue
Necklace - Gabriel's $4.99
Bracelet - KMart $6.00

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Dinner On The Deck

Stopped by my local farmers market, that we have in our small little town, they had whole filets of beef for $35 and change, so I brought one home and cut it myself into nice sized pieces.  Grilled four of them up last night for dinner and they were so scrumpdillyicious good!  Instead of just plain salt and pepper I sprinkled them with some Montreal Steak seasoning and grilled them.  Tender, melt in your mouth tasty, that's all I am saying.  Dinner was on the deck last night, it was quiet, calm, listening to nothing but the birds and crickets, enjoying a great meal, there is nothing better than that.

Grilled about 8 minutes on each side and look how nice they came out.
Served up Yukon Gold potatoes and onions cooked in a little olive oil, salt and pepper, And...
a spinach salad with hot bacon dressing.
Ready to sit down and eat with a nice glass of red wine.  Oh, and the bread, let's not forget the fresh baked bread from the Italian bakery.

Monday, August 26, 2013

The Autumn Leaves Are Falling

I know it's still August, but my trees are already starting to shed their leaves.  I am actually excited about that, I love Fall it's my favorite time of year.  Kiddies go back to school, there is more structure and schedule,  noise quiets down outside, it's GRRREAT!  I was looking in my closet to check out what I might need for the season, color wise.  Merlot is hot this fall, as well as, pumpkin, brown, plum and olive green. I only needed a few pieces so I went bargain shopping and this is what I found.

Left -Plum Shrug Tie Sweater - WalMart $13.97
Right  - Dark Brown Skinny Jean - DressBarn $39.90 (got a $15 coupon back to spend later)
Left - Merlot Sweater - Marshall's $19.99 and Shoes - Target $19.99
Right - Brown/Pumpkin Print Chiffon Top With Wood Detail on Neckline - Avenue $19.96