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Tag Archives: mozzarella cheese

Pesto Chicken

I recently tried to make a kind of deconstructed chicken parm with pesto or a backward chicken parm.  It didn’t go exactly as I had planned, and when I make it in the future I will definitely adapt it.  I like the flavors enough to definitely keep perfecting a good way to blend the flavors for a better outcome.

1 chicken breast per person

1 cup Panko breadcrumbs

1 cup prepared pesto

1/2 flour

salt and pepper to taste

3 plum tomatoes

6 slices mozzarella cheese

note: the 1 cup portions were for 2 servings, adjust accordingly.

Set out 3 bowls; place flour and a pinch of salt and pepper in one, pesto in the second and panko breadcrumbs in the third.  Dredge the chicken breasts in the flour and then coat with pesto.  You really need to get in there with your hands and rub the pesto all over.  Then dip into the bread crumbs.  You also need to really press the breadcrumbs in.

Warm oil in a skillet over medium-high heat.  Place the chicken in the skillet and brown.  Flip the chicken after 5-7 minutes and cook on the other side.  Cover the pan to make sure the chicken cooks through.

Meanwhile, cut the tomatoes in half and scoop out the seeds.  Salt and pepper the tomatoes and place in the oven at 350 for about 5 minutes.  This gets them just soft.  Remove them from the oven and place the slices of cheese.  Place under the broiler for just a couple of minutes to brown and bubble the cheese.

Once the chicken is done, place the tomatoes on top or on the side.  We added more pesto on the top of the chicken to give more flavor.  The pesto flavor did really cook out.  Which is why I’ve concluded that that step isn’t really worth it.  In the future I will probably just season the chicken with salt and pepper and bake it and then top it with the pesto.  I will let you know how that turns out when I try that!  I served this with pasta with pesto sauce.

 

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Caprese Salad (AKA this single girls’ PERFECT summer time dinner!)

My adorable little home town has a great farmers market on Wednesday nights in the warm months.  I love visiting the market, and especially love my favorite vendors there from Goose Creek Gardens (visit there website here to find out what other markets you may be able to catch them at www.goosecreekgardens.com).  They have a great selection of fresh herbs and greens for an incredibly low price.  You can get a really generous sized bag of herbs for only $1.  I know, I know, it’s an incredible deal!  They charge 1/3 of the prize for 1/3 more than what you get at a grocery store.

Tonight I enjoyed a caprese salad with the first cutting of their home grown basil.  It was delish!  It is a perfect and healthy meal when I’m just cooking (or in this case cutting tomatoes and cheese, which I don’t think can actually constitute as cooking!) during the warm months.  All I do is cut the tomatoes in slices, cut some mozzarella cheese in slices and top with basil.  I then drizzle Italian dressing over top.  You could also do nice extra virgin olive oil or balsamic vinegar over the salad.

Voila!  A delicious salad course for entertaining or a whole course if you’re like me and use 2 tomatoes and don’t feel like making anything!  Ok, ok, ok.  I’ll admit it.  I followed the healthy salad with a glass of wine and a piece of tiramisu from a cute little restaurant downstairs while I typed this post 😉

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Pasta with toasted breadcrumbs and broiled cheesy tomatoes

I was recently checking one of my favorite blogs, Noble Pig,  to find new recipes and inspiration.  I saw her recipe with a simple pasta dinner with basil and parmesan broiled tomatoes, and had to try it.  I combined that idea with another recipe for pasta with toasted bread crumbs I had found in my Quick Fixes cookbook.

I don’t think I will ever have pasta without the tomatoes broiled cheese, it was really delicious.

Whole wheat pasta

Olive Oil

Plum Tomatoes (figure on about 3 or 4 slices per person)

Mozzarella cheese

Parmesan cheese

Breadcrumbs (I used panko)

1/2 TBS minced garlic

Fresh lemon juice

Boil water and cook the pasta in salted water according to the directions.  Cut the tomatoes in thick slices and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Roast in the oven at 375 for about 5 minutes to soften.  While the tomatoes are roasting, heat olive oil in the skillet.  Add the garlic and cook for just a minute.  Add the bread crumbs and sprinkle with the lemon juice.  Toast the breadcrumbs until they are golden.  Add the cooked pasta to the skillet and toss with the breadcrumbs.  Add the basil and let it wilt slightly.  Remove the tomatoes from the oven and sprinkle with the cheese and put under  the broiler for 2-4 minutes until the cheese is golden and bubbly.  Top each plate with a few slices of the tomato and a leaf of fresh basil.

Chicken Parmesan

This dish is based on a few recipes I’ve seen, and couldn’t be easier.

Skinless Chicken Breast (1 per person)

About 3/4 cup flour

Salt

Pepper

2 eggs

1/2 TBS minced garlic

3/4 cup breadcrumbs (I use Italian seasoned)

1/2 TBS Italian Seasoning

About 1 cup tomato sauce

Mozzarella (sliced or shredded)

Set up 3 bowls.  In one bowl combine the flour, salt and pepper.  In the second bowl lightly scramble the egg and mix with the minced garlic.  In the third bowl combine the bread crumbs with the Italian seasoning.

Heat extra virgin olive oil in a large skillet to about medium to medium high heat.

Dredge each piece of chicken in the flour, then dip in the egg and then in the bread crumbs.  Be sure to get an even coating of each step on the chicken.  For a nice thick breading, re dip in egg and re coat in bread crumbs.

Place each piece of chicken in the skillet and cook until browned, about 4-5 minutes.  Turn and cook for about the same time on the other side.  Once both sides have a nice brown, place the cheese on each piece and cover with tomato sauce.

Cover the pan and turn the heat down.  Let the chicken simmer for about 5-7 minutes.  This will allow the chicken to cook the whole way through and let the cheese melt.

Serve with pasta and a salad and enjoy!!

Tomato Gratin

This dish was a near disaster!  Luckily, it was saved in time and was still very tasty!

1 – 2 pints grape tomatoes

About 1/4 cup finely grated mozzarella cheese

About 1/4 cup Italian seasoned bread crumbs

Garlic salt to taste

Pepper to taste

Heat about 1 TBS extra virgin olive oil in a skillet and add the grape tomatoes.  Stir the tomatoes while they cook over medium heat and let them wilt down a bit.  When they become soft and tender, season to taste.  Transfer the tomatoes into a ramekin or oven proof dish.  Sprinkle with the cheese and bread crumbs and place under the broil until the bread crumbs crisp (about 2-3 minutes).  This is where disaster nearly struck.  I left the dish in for a bit too long and had to do a bit of scrapping.  You could also bake the dish if you have a little more time, I’d say about 15 minutes at 350 would do the trick.  I think that parmesan cheese would also be a great choice instead of the mozzarella.  This dish would also be an excellent side for any meal!

(I forgot to take a final product picture of the scraped and rebaked finished product!  But it did look much more appetizing than this last picture!)

Pizza Party!

Last week my friend Mandy and I had a pizza party.  I had picked up fresh dough at Trader Joe’s, 1 wheat and 1 herbed.  The dough turned out to be very good.  We decided to do margarita on the herbed crust and did 1/2 cilantro and shrimp and 1/2 blue cheese with caramelized onions.  The blue cheese and caramelized onion was my favorite!  For this pizza parties, real margaritas were a must!  It took Mandy quite some time to get to my place because of the roads.

So, this is not so much a recipe but a note of encouragement to take flavors you love to the crust!  What is your favorite combination for pizza toppins?