Friday, April 13, 2012

Roasted Asparagus and Mushroom Pasta in Lemon-Cream Sauce

I haven't actually tried this, it just popped up in my google reader feed this morning, but it sounds good and I want to keep it queued for a later meal. And since we have been talking roasted asparagus, I thought it was timely. Perhaps Robbie and dad might give it another try (ha ha ha).

Recipe by Our Best Bites
1 lb. asparagus, tough ends snapped off
3-4 cups whole mushrooms, thickly sliced
5-6 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
1 tablespoon lemon zest
1/4 cup strained lemon juice
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon Creole or coarse-grain mustard
8 ounces uncooked linguine
1 recipe Guiltless Alfredo Sauce
Optional: Grilled chicken breast or sauteed shrimp

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil and set aside.
In a large bowl, combine trimmed asparagus and sliced mushrooms. Zest the lemons (enough to get 1 tablespoon of zest) and set the zest aside.
In a small bowl or measuring cup, combine the lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, salt, pepper, and mustard. Drizzle over the veggies and toss to combine. Spread the veggies out onto the prepared baking sheet and roast for 20 minutes or until the asparagus is tender but not mushy. Remove from oven and allow to stand for 5-10 minutes.
While the veggies are roasting, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and, when the water is ready, cook pasta al dente. Prepare the Alfredo sauce. After you’ve added the cheese, add the reserved lemon zest to the sauce. When the asparagus and mushrooms are done roasting, you can either portion out the pasta, veggies, and sauce into individual servings or toss it all together. Serves 6-8.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

This Cheese Will Change Your Life

I think I was watching Ina Garten on the Food Network, when she showed how to do this. It has totally changed my idea about Parmesan Cheese, and Italian food. I. Love. It.

I buy the huge block of Parmesan at Costco for around $15. It comes in a big wedge. 

Then I just cut the entire thing into small cubes-about 1/2" or smaller.

Then I grind it in my food processor. Only put a few in at first, because they kind of rattle around in there. It's super loud. But so worth it. Keep adding and process it in small batches.

Tons of cheese for $15! I store mine in a gallon Zip-loc in the freezer, and just take it out when I need it. No need to defrost. You will definitely taste the difference in this cheese! Do yourself a favor and don't touch that powdery stuff in the green container. You'll thank me. 

PS-This is a great alfredo recipe. Super easy. Its one of my go-to quick dinners.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Easter Dinner

I made this yesterday for Easter. Oh Man! It was really, really good. And actually really easy too .. I thought it was going to be more difficult. We also had roasted asparagus and homemade rolls (my first time ever making rolls and they turned out!)

Chicken Cordon Bleu 
from Mel's Kitchen Cafe

25 Ritz crackers (I used whole wheat crackers and loved the extra nuttiness)
4 slices hearty sandwich bread, white or wheat (again, used homemade wheat bread and it was hearty and delicious) ... I just used leftover hamburger buns from our bbq the previous night.
6 tablespoons butter, melted
8 thin slices deli ham (about 8 ounces)
2 cups shredded swiss cheese
4 thick boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 2 pounds total), see note
Salt and pepper
3 large eggs
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 cup all-purpose flour
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Pulse the crackers and bread in a food processor until they are coarsely ground. Drizzle in the melted butter and pulse to incorporate together. Transfer the crumbs to a rimmed baking sheet and bake in the preheated oven for 3 to 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the crumbs are lightly browned. Transfer the crumbs to a shallow baking dish (a pie plate works great!). Leave the oven on.
Top each ham slice with about 1/4 cup shredded cheese. If your ham slices are too small, shingle two ham slices on top of each other to create a larger slice and roll the cheese up in that. Roll tightly and set aside. Pat the chicken dry with paper towels. Following the pictures below, cut a pocket in the thickest part of the chicken breast and stuff each pocket with 2 ham/cheese rolls. Pull the top flap of chicken over the rolls and press to seal (you can use a toothpick to gently secure the pocket edge, if you like). Season both sides of the chicken with salt and pepper. Refrigerate the stuffed chicken, covered, for at least 20 minutes.
In another shallow dish or pie plate, beat the eggs and mustard. Place the flour in a third shallow dish. Remove the chicken from the refrigerator. Working with one stuffed chicken breast at a time, coat the chicken lightly with flour and then dip in the egg mixture, covering both sides. Dredge the chicken in the toasted bread crumbs, pressing lightly to help the crumbs stick to the chicken. (The breaded chicken can be refrigerated covered for up to 1 day.)
Transfer the chicken to a lightly greased rimmed baking sheet. Bake on the lowest rack of the oven until the bottom of the chicken is browned, about 10 minutes. Move the chicken to a middle rack in the oven, reduce the temperature to 400 (you don’t have to leave the chicken out of the oven while the temperature adjusts, just put it back in the oven and then reduce the temperature), and bake until golden brown and the chicken is cooked through (160 degrees on an thermometer), about 25-30 minutes. Let the chicken rest for 5 minutes before serving.