Monday, February 28, 2011

Supreme Chicken...Tenders!!

Continuing in my posts with recipes containing half & half (this is the last one, I swear!), my next dish is a chicken dish that I found on It looked tasty to me, but contained some mushrooms. I love mushrooms, but my husband doesn't, so I was surprised when he picked this recipe out of 6 possible choices for me to make. Okay, hey, I'll go with it! Maybe his taste buds changed. Rumor has it they change every 7 years.

Anyway, so this recipe looked pretty tasty. I used chicken tenders because well, that's what I had frozen in the house, but the recipe actually called for chicken breasts. It was a very easy recipe and turned out to be very tasty!

It took me probably about 45 minutes to make from start to finish - it cooked more quickly than the recipe states because I was using the tenders and not thick breasts. So it is doable for after work during the week, but can also be made ahead and saved for another night.

Here is the recipe:


* 6 tablespoons all-purpose flour, divided
* 1 teaspoon paprika
* 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, divided
* 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
* 6 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
* 1/4 cup butter
* 2 tablespoons water
* 1 1/4 cups half-and-half
* 6 ounces fresh mushrooms, sliced
* 1 tablespoon lemon juice
* 1 1/2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese


In a shallow dish or bowl, combine 4 tablespoons flour, paprika, 1 teaspoon salt and pepper.

Coat chicken with the flour mixture.

In a large skillet, brown the coated chicken in 1/4 cup of butter or margarine. Add the water, cover and let simmer covered for 25 to 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

When chicken is done simmering, remove from the skillet and place in a 9x13 inch baking dish; save drippings.

Combine remaining 2 tablespoons flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt and half-and-half.

Mix together and stir mixture into reserved drippings in skillet. Bring to a simmer, stirring, and cook until thick and bubbly.

Add mushrooms and lemon juice and stir together. Pour sauce over chicken and bake uncovered in the preheated oven for 30 minutes

Sprinkle with cheese and bake 3-5 minutes more until cheese melts.

Serve hot and enjoy!!

Sounds like a great recipe to put over some rice!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Homemade Cream of Asparagus Soup!

Well, my husband had bought a whole bunch of ingredients to make homemade ice cream with a while back, including a bunch of half & half. He only made one batch of ice cream, so we had a lot of half & half left over.

I HATE wasting food and just throwing it I started looking for recipes using half & half. The recipe I made the other day with the artichoke ravioli came to me in my food network magazine...but I went trolling online to find some more.

One recipe I found on was for Cream of Asparagus Soup. I just had some on the cruise we took a few weeks ago, so I thought, why not?

The difference between the soup I had on the cruise was that the asparagus was pureed and this one actually left the asparagus in the mixture whole. But, it was DELICIOUS!! We wolfed it down on Sunday night. And, it was so easy!! Bonus!!

The original recipe (here) uses fresh asparagus. I cheated and used frozen grilled asparagus I bought at Trader Joes, but it was still delicious. :-)

I halved the recipe because we didn't have a lot of half & half left after some other recipes I made. It also probably took maybe 25 minutes total - nice and quick! The recipe I am posting is for the full recipe, serves about 6.


* 1 pound frozen asparagus
* 3 1/2 cups chicken broth
* 1/4 cup margarine
* 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
* 1/2 cup half-and-half
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper


Cut asparagus into one inch pieces.

In a medium skillet over medium high heat, saute the asparagus in 1 cup of the broth for about 7 minutes, or until tender.

In a large saucepan over medium high heat, melt the butter or margarine and remove from heat.

Add the flour and stir well until smooth.

Gradually add the remaining 2 1/2 cups broth. Return the saucepan to the heat and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened.

Add the half-and-half, salt, pepper and cooked asparagus with liquid. Stir well and heat thoroughly.

Serve hot and enjoy!

I can also see using this recipe as a sauce over pasta or chicken. It's very versatile!

Roasted Cauliflower Risotto

Well, I tried my hand at risotto today. It turned out okay, but I made a few mistakes, and I definitely should leave this to the pros. I found this recipe in this month's Food Network Magazine and I got excited because I LOVE cauliflower.

Food Network claims this recipe is easy and should take 40 minutes. Okay. Maybe for people who know what they are doing. It took me a little over an hour total, and I thought it was tricky.

One thing to keep in mind - for whoever tries this - when you cut the need to use both the florets and the stems and keep them separate. The way the recipe is worded in the magazine doesn't really make that clear and I ended up combining them. It didn't ruin the recipe, just made it slightly different. So when I list the ingredients below, I am listing those as 2 separate things, unlike what Food Network did.


* 1 head cauliflower - 2 ways
florets cut into 1/2-inch pieces
stems chopped
* 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
* Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
* 1/4 cup sliced almonds
* 1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
* 1 1/2 cups short-grain Italian rice (such as arborio or vialone nano)
* 1 clove garlic, minced
* 1/2 cup dry white wine
* 3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
* 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
* 4 ounces Italian fontina cheese, grated (1 1/2 cups) - I used light mozzarella.
* 1/2 cup roughly chopped fresh parsley (I used 1/4 cup of dried parsley)


Cut up cauliflower and separate florets and stems.

Position racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and preheat to 475 degrees F.

Toss the cauliflower florets with 1 tablespoon olive oil on a baking sheet. Spread in a single layer and season with salt and pepper.

Roast on the upper oven rack, 5 minutes. Add the almonds and roast until the cauliflower is tender, about 15 more minutes.

Meanwhile, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil in a Dutch oven over high heat.

Add the onion and cauliflower stems and cook, stirring, until the onion is translucent, about 3 minutes.

Add the rice and garlic and cook, stirring, 2 minutes. Add the wine and cook, stirring, until evaporated, 1 to 2 minutes.

Add the broth, 2 cups water and 1 teaspoon salt; cover and bring to a boil. Transfer the pot to the lower oven rack and bake until the rice is tender, about 15 minutes.

Remove the rice from the oven and add the butter, fontina (mozzarella) and parsley, stirring vigorously until the risotto is creamy, 1 to 2 minutes.

Divide among bowls and top with the roasted cauliflower and almonds.

So... my mistakes. First, I had a brain fart and I used a double boiler for a few steps until I realized it wasn't my dutch oven. (Dutch oven is like, a deep skillet). That didn't really hurt anything... when I started putting the wine in I realized and just dumped everything into the dutch oven.

Second mistake... I didn't cover the dutch oven when the water and broth were waiting to boil. Oops. But I covered it for a few minutes longer on the heat before putting it in the oven.

When it was ready, it seemed a little less creamy than in the picture in the magazine (and on the website here) but it still tasted delicious!

My husband tried some as well (this was being made for later in the week) and he said it was good. recipe attempt didn't fail, but it was work and not as easy and they claim. Maybe I will leave risotto to the pros!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Back to Cooking with Ravioli with Artichoke Sauce!!

It took a week, but I started cooking again. I guess that's because we actually went food shopping this week and re-stocked our house.

The first dish I made came from this month's Food Network magazine, dedicated to all things Italian. A pasta recipe caught my eye, and since I had all but 3 of the ingredients in the house, I added the missing items to my list and planned to make that tonight. And it was delicious! (To be honest, this recipe also caught my eye because it used half & half and we have some in the house that must be used by the 27th, or else it gets wasted. Perfect timing!)

Ravioli with Artichoke Sauce. Yum. The original recipe is actually agnolotti with artichoke sauce but frozen ravioli is much more economical to buy, and the recipe said it could be substituted.

This recipe is pretty quick. If you take 10 minutes to chop the thawed artichokes and let them sit...when you are ready to start dinner, get your ravioli going and work on the sauce at the same time that is boiling. It probably took me the 25 active minutes to do the sauce - would have taken over a half hour if I didn't chop the artichokes in the afternoon.

Here are the ingredients:

* 1 9-ounce package frozen artichoke hearts, thawed and coarsely chopped
* 1 cup half-and-half
* 1 clove garlic, smashed
* 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
* Kosher salt
* 1 cup frozen peas (do not thaw)
* 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
* 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
* 1 pound refrigerated cheese agnolotti (moon-shaped stuffed pasta) or ravioli
* 1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
* 1/4 cup torn fresh basil leaves (we did not use these, but it is in the recipe)


Combine the artichokes, half-and-half, garlic, red pepper flakes and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a large skillet and bring to a simmer over medium heat.

Cover and cook until the artichokes are tender, about 5 minutes.

Add the peas and continue to cook, covered, until tender, about 5 more minutes.

Remove from the heat and stir in the lemon zest and juice. Discard the garlic clove.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the ravioli and cook as the label directs.

Reserve 1/2 cup cooking water, then drain the pasta and transfer to the skillet with the sauce.

Add the Parmesan to the skillet and gently stir until the pasta is coated.

Thin the sauce with some of the reserved cooking water. Stir in the basil.

This recipe serves 4.


Sunday, February 20, 2011

Eating With A With Yet Another Cupcake Review

So... I know I've been cupcake focused lately. But, I have to review this last cupcake place we just tried yesterday. Out of all 3 places I talked about in my last post about cupcakes, this place ranks 4th. It's worse than the NY Cupcakery that we weren't impressed with because we thought their cupcakes were too generic for their prices. Turns out you get more cake for your dollar there at least!! the same town as NY Cupcakery, a new place recently opened called Got Cupcakes? (They do not have a website, only a page on Face Book). I had high hopes - my boss's daughter actually started working there so he would tell me about the cupcakes. The flavors sounded great. My mom found a coupon for me and we waited until we returned from vacation to try it out. So, the other day we went. They had about 20 flavors out - and they sounded great. We had a coupon for buy 3, get 1 free. The "regular" sized cupcakes were $2.25 each. So, we set about picking out our flavors. Right away, one called Chocolate Chip Pancake called to me, so we got that. My husband was intrigued by Mexican Hot Chocolate. Amaretto won us over next. Then we couldn't decide between Mud Pie and Chocolate Covered Cherry. We ultimately decided on the cherry one but the owner threw in a Mud Pie for us for free, probably hoping we'd come back.

We paid for our cupcakes and went home. We decided we would share two of them for dessert that night. They looked like they were normal cupcake size. Well, when my husband went to split the cupcakes, we found that the cake parts were tiny. Really tiny. They used so much frosting on top to make them look bigger than they are. So right off the bat, we were disappointed at the size, especially at $2.25 a pop. Also, the cake parts were really dry...

We first tried the Chocolate Covered Cherry and neither of us liked it. It had that cherry medicinal quality that the owner swore it didn't have. Then we tried the Chocolate Chip Pancake. That one was far would have been fantastic is the cake wasn't dry and it was a smidge bigger. But it had a subtle maple taste and was decent.

Tonight we polished off the last three flavors - Amaretto, Mud Pie and Mexican Hot Chocolate. Unfortunately, since the cakes were already dry, they were even dryer tonight. Amaretto was actually great - despite the cake dryness. It had great flavor in the icing and was a very unusual flavor. We were told the Mexican Hot Chocolate had cinnamon and a little pepper in it, but we didn't taste anything but chocolate. The chocolate frosting however, was my favorite. Mud Pie was okay...the cake part had good flavor (despite being dry) but I thought the Mexican Hot Chocolate frosting was better.

So...all in all... it was okay. We'd stop there if we were in the area and needed dessert, but we didn't love it. Sorry, Got Cupcakes?, you didn't do it for us this time.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Eating With A is Back...and Munching on POPCORNERS!

I'm back!! Actually, I've been back for a week, but lazy after a fantastic vacation, and haven't cooked or done anything this week.

I have a lot of reviews I will be posting as well, from vacation, and this is actually the first one.

My husband and I have found a new favorite snack chip - not only are they tasty, but they are healthy and even gluten free for those of you who can not digest gluten. These new chips are called Popcorners, and are a cross between chips and popcorn.

We first tried these on our JetBlue flight down to Florida in early February. Our flight carried the White Cheddar flavor and we were hooked. JetBlue is actually the only airline to be carrying these right now. I'm not sure when these were introduced to the public, but they are in a wide variety of supermarkets and gas station convenience stores right now.

The bags that JetBlue gives out also boasts a coupon code. 20% off if you use it! The website also ships for free on any size order. That's pretty awesome. When I got home from vacation, I went online to see what other flavors they had and discovered they sell a sample pack of all 5 flavors for $14 and change. And the sample pack contains 5 large bags of each flavor and 5 individual bags of each flavor. With the coupon code and the free shipping, it only cost me $11 and change for 10 bags of chips - WELL worth it.

So far we love the White Cheddar flavor, and my husband tried the Sea Salt and Cheesy Jalapeno flavors, which he also enjoyed. I brought the butter flavor to work one day and thoroughly enjoyed it - I could see mixing it with some cinnamon sugar for a sweet treat as well! All we have left to try is the Kettle flavor, which I heard is a sweet and salty type flavor.

I'm so excited to have found this flavorful and healthy snack chip. I'm hooked. And I know we have a bonus sample box waiting for us in my husband's office - the other day they were having a promotion on Facebook in NYC. If you listed your location - they would drop off some samples to you! So I listed his office and they came after he left, but an employee put them on his office chair. Yay - more Popcorners!!

The website also has some recipes using Popcorners. Only 4 right now, but I am sure the list will grow.

So, go try out these tasty treats - they are well worth it, and the company is very generous for what you pay. Two thumbs up!