Monthly Archives: October 2012

Chicken Parmigiana

Chicken parmigiana is one of those thing that is easy to make but takes time if  you really want it yummy . I have been wanting to make this meal for my family since last week but i got distracted by one thing after another , and ended up postponing it . But glad i finally got to it today .

I made the sauce on my own , i guess that’s one of the reason why it takes time , but you can always cut the time by getting the store bought sauce instead of making your own . Of course , the home made tastes a whole lot better , and it’s not like it’s hard , it’s not hard to make , just takes a little time . You can always make the sauce the day before too , that’ll work great actually . On the day you want to make the dish , just heat up the sauce and keep it warm , while you make the breading and fry the chicken . Once you’re ready just throw them in together and you’re done !

In case you want to make your own sauce , here is a simple tomato sauce recipe by Jamie Oliver , it’s delicious . One of my favourite simple sauce , because it only takes few ingredients , dry herbs work okay , though i would use fresh herbs if i can . And an hour simmering and it’ll be ready .

Direction for Simple Tomato Sauce : 

6 cloves of garlic , minced

6-8 leaves of basil , chopped

about 4-5 sprigs of oregano , leaves only , chopped

2 bird eye chilis , you can skip this if you don’t like a little heat

2 -28 oz can whole peeled tomato

salt and pepper , sugar

2 tsp. of good balsamic vinegar

1. In a pot , heat olive oil , then add garlic and the herbs , cook for a minute . Then add the the whole peeled tomaotes . Bring to boil , add salt , pepper and sugar . ( just eye ball it , if you think it’s too acidic , add more sugar , if not , just add very little )

2. Simmer for an hour , stir once in a while , and when it’s almost done , add 2 tsp. balsamic vinegar , and then bring the immersion blender , to make it smooth or chunky . And your sauce is done !

Simple tomato sauce is cooking , bring to boil and then simmer for an hour .

After an hour , the sauce is done , and using immersion blender , makes the sauce smooth or chunky , your preference .

Direction for the chicken parmesan : 

About 1.5 lbs of boneless chicken thighs ( or chicken breasts , i like dark , so i use thighs )

salt and pepper

2-3 large eggs , beaten

flour

1 cup of bread crumbs

1 cup of parmesan cheese

small ball of mozzarella cheese

basil leaves

1. Pound the boneless chicken , about 1/4 inch thickness , and then set aside . Line your work stations , 1 plate of flour , then bowl of beaten eggs and then 1 plate for mix of the bread crumbs and the parmesan cheese .

2. Now let’s get it going , heat up the oil in a nonstick skillet , and then dredge the chicken on the flour ( with salt and pepper added and mix with your fingers or fork ) , then remove the excess flour , and dip into the eggs and then dredge on the bread crumbs parmesan mixture . And brown for 3-4 minutes on each side on medium low heat .

3. Once you’re done with all the chicken . Pour about 1 cup of the sauce on a 13×9 inch pan , then line the chicken on top of the sauce , and top with more sauce , don’t flood them , just enough to cover , and then add slices of mozzarella cheese on top of the chicken , and sprinkle with chopped fresh basil leaves . Bake at 350 F , for about 15 minutes .

This is the chicken parmigiana before being baked 

After being baked for 15 minutes to melt the cheese ..

Served with spaghetti

 

Pecan – Pumpkin Bread

A long time ago when i was pregnant i remember we were supposed to bring dessert for potluck for my lamaze class . I ended up making pumpkin bread , although we’re not really into pumpkin pie , we really liked this pumpkin bread . It has a really good taste , and i love the spices in it . Not only that , it’s very moist and full of flavor . Not to mention the smell of the spices fill your house , it’s really brings the sense of autumn in the air .

This recipe will make 3 loafs of 7×3 , i made 2 small loafs ad also 1 full of bundt cake

Direction : 

1 can of 15 oz pumpkin puree

4 large eggs

1 cup of vegetable oil

2/3 cup of water

3 cups of sugar

3 1/2 cup of all purpose flour

2 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. of salt

1 tsp. cinnamon

1/2 tsp. cloves

1/4 tsp. of ground cloves

1 cup of chopped pecans

1. In a large bowl , mix pumpkin puree , sugar , eggs , water and vegetable oil . Mix well . Set aside .

2. Mix all the dry ingredients together , and then pour slowly into the wet mixture until blends well . Add the pecan . Mix .

3. This will make 3 loafs of 7×3 , i made 2 small loafs and a bundt bread . Bake at 350 F , for about 50 minutes , if you put them in smaller loaf pan , you should watch it , probably about 25-30 minutes . It should be done when toothpick inserted coming out clean .

 

Arborio Rice Pudding

Rice pudding is one of my favourite .. i normally just use regular rice , such as jasmine rice . I do have a different recipe that uses jasmine rice , with milk and coconut milk . And although that takes longer to make , but i think it has the best flavor . Now if you’re looking for something really quick and easy , yet still tasty , i would go with this recipe .

Yesterday was one of those morning , i was stuck at home , and i had to stay home because i had to wait for the cable guy to come over to hook it up . And so i was planning to make pumpkin bread , i’ve got all the ingredients except for baking soda . It is hard to believe that i do not have baking soda , i usually do , but due to the moving this past week , obviously i left my baking soda somewhere along the way . I was hungry for something , so mid morning i made this rice pudding , using arborio rice , very easy and quick , and it’s super creamy .

Direction : 

1 cup of water

1/2 tbsp. of unsalted butter

pinch of salt

1/2 cup of arborio rice ( rice for risotto )

2 cups of low fat milk

4-5 tbsp. of sugar

1 tsp. of vanilla extract

few dashes of cinnamon

1. In a small pot , heat up the water and salt and butter , bring to boil . Then add the rice . Simmer , and cover for about 15 minutes until the rice soaked up all the water .

2. Meanwhile , bring to boil the milk , sugar and cinnamon , then simmer . Once the rice is done , place the rice into the milk mixture . And keep stirring medium low heat , until the milk mostly gone .

3. Remove from the heat , you can eat it warm or cold . I like it warm . Sprinkle with cinnamon and you can use whipped cream too , i prefer just with cinnamon .

Shrimp Risotto

This yummy rice dish takes a little time to make , but really delicious . Tonight i decided to make shrimp risotto . Originally wanted to use scallops , but for some reason scallops here are expensive , about $15.99 per pound , and they do have bay scallops , but i prefer sea scallops . So i thought shrimp will be fine , maybe next time , when scallops are on sale , we can try that .

Shrimp risotto is really not hard to do , but make sure you do not discard the shrimp shells , and use it to make a delicious shrimp stock . Do the same thing if you use lobster too , the stock will be so delicious . Take time to make the risotto , and don’t leave the pan while you do something else , this is not the dish that you can leave while you’re finishing other things . Constantly stirring them , and adding the stock into the pan as it’s needed .

Direction : 

Make shrimp stock first , this probably going to take about 30 minutes to simmer for the flavor to blend . 

1/2 large onion , quartered

shells from 2 lbs of shrimp , if you have the head , throw them in too , if not , it’s fine too

2 cellery ribs , cut about 2 inches length

5 garlic , smashed

About 8 cups of water

Salt and pepper

Bring the stock to boil , and then cover and simmer for 20-30 minutes . while you prepare the ingredients for the risotto .

For Risotto : 

2 lbs. of extra large shrimp

1 1/2 cup of arborio rice

2 cups of finely chopped onion

4 garlic cloves , minced

salt and pepper

6-8 cups of shrimp stock

2/3 cup of good white wine

olive oil

green onion , chopped for garnish

1. In a large pan , heat the olive oil, then add about 2 tbsp. of chopped onion and 1 tsp. of garlic , for few minutes . Then add shrimp , cook for 2 minutes , don’t overcook or it will be chewy . Remove from the pan and set aside on a plate .

2. Add little bit more olive oil , add the rest of the minced garlic and the chopped onion , and cook for about 5 minutes . Then add arborio rice , and toast it for few minutes . Then add 2/3 cup of white wine , cook until the wine evaporates .

3. Add the shrimp stock , about 1-2 cups , and keep stirring under medium low heat . Make sure your stock is hot / warm when you add it into the rice , so your rice will cook right , or else it will cook on the outside and undercook inside . If i were you , i would keep the shrimp stock on the low heat while you cook the risotto . Keep stirring , don’t leave them cooking alone , stirring constantly , and add more stock a cup or a ladle or 2 , into the rice , until the rice is done cooking . Usually it takes about 6-8 cups of the stock . Taste it , the rice should be creamy but not mushy .

4. Add chopped green onion , leave some for garnish , and add the shrimp during the last minute of cooking . Serve right away .

Picture above is shrimp risotto , and i served it with sauteed brussel sprouts , you can always skip the brussel sprouts if you want .

Spiced Apple Quick Bread

One of the reason why i love fall is fall baking and cooking . The scent of the spices , and the color of the leaves , they’re just beautiful . Well that was back in the midwest , fall always fun with the colorful leaves . Down south by the gulf , i barely noticed any changes on the tree leaves just because the weather is still quite warm . Although this morning the temperature went down to 50’s which was wonderful and i really enjoyed that .

Anyway i decided to try this recipe that i found on chow website , it’s apple bread . I figured it shouldn’t be too much difference than making zucchini bread or carrot cake . Since both of them are not using butter , instead the main ingredients are oil , sugar , eggs , and whatever spices you use and the vegetable / fruit itself . The smell of the house was wonderful as i had this baked in the oven . Super quick and easy , with bread like this , you have to make sure you don’t overwork it , and don’t overbake it . I remember the first time i made zucchini bread , that was back in 2002 , and i was not experienced baker at all . i repeat .. i was not experienced at all . And i made a huge mistake , i baked zucchini bread for too long , and just because the middle was still a bit gooey i kept baking it , i ended up baking a 9×5 loaf pan zucchini bread for 2 hours . The result ? As hard as a rock and i could throw it out the window and it won’t break LOL .. That was me , back in 2002 ..

Direction : 

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine salt
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups peeled, medium-dice Granny Smith apples , about 2 medium apples , put them in the food processor and pulse until it’s chopped small enough .

1. Preheat oven to 350 F , and prepare parchment paper lined 9×5 loaf pan . Grease the pan before lining the parchment paper , then grease and flour it .Or you can always use a muffin pan too , it’s up to you .

2. In a medium bowl , mix all the dry ingredients , flour , spices , baking powder , baking soda and salt .

3. In a large bowl , whisk eggs , oil , sugar and brown sugar , until it’s all well mixed . Then add the dry ingredients , don’t overwork it , just enough until the batter mixed , and then fold in the chopped apples .

4. Pour into the loaf pan and bake for about 45 minutes on the middle rack in the oven .Let it sit for 15 minutes before taking it out from the pan .