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Soft (and Addictive!) Garlic Bread

We love garlic bread in our house, especially as an accompaniment to spaghetti and meatballs. What I don’t like, however, is super crunchy bread that takes on the consistency of toast. I’m sure some people love toasty garlic bread, but it’s just not for me.

Soft Garlic Bread

The Ingredients:

  • A fresh loaf of French bread (16 oz). Or, if you’re a huge sourdough fan, grab a loaf of sourdough.
  • 1/2 cup (yes, one stick — don’t freak out) of unsalted butter, softened.
  • 2 large cloves of garlic, smashed and minced.
  • 1 heaping teaspoon of freshly chopped parsley.

The Instructions:

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  • Mix the butter, garlic and parsley together in a small bowl.
  • With a good bread knife, make 1 inch thick slices into the bread, down to the crust, without going completely through.
  • Put a teaspoon or two of the butter mixture between each slice.
  • Wrap the bread in aluminum foil and heat for 15 minutes in the oven.

Try not to eat the whole loaf before your family comes down for dinner.

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Baked Spaghetti Casserole

Last weekend I was looking for something to jazz up an otherwise boring spaghetti and meatball night, and I stumbled across this recipe which did just the trick.

Baked Spaghetti Casserole

The Ingredients:

  • 12 oz spaghetti
  • 28 oz of your favorite pasta sauce
  • 1 lb lean ground beef OR do what I did and thaw and cut up pre-made turkey meatballs because, frankly, it was WHAT I HAD IN THE FREEZER!
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 8 oz cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated

The Instructions:

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  • In skillet, brown the meat and drain (or you can do my little frozen meatball trick). Stir in pasta sauce.
  • Cook the spaghetti al dente, then drain.
  • Mix the cooked spaghetti with the cream cheese, Italian seasoning and garlic. Stir until the pasta is coated with the cheese mixture.
  • Lightly grease a 9″ x 13″ pan and spread a small amount of meat sauce on the bottom of the pan. Put the spaghetti mixture in the pan and cover with meat sauce and then sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.
  • Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 30 minutes, until bubbly.

We enjoyed this baked spaghetti casserole with soft and yummy garlic bread and freshly steamed green beans.

Coconut Curry Chicken – In the Crock Pot

I am a sucker for curry. I love all kinds. There’s something lovely about the warm aroma, sweet and spicy flavors, and the way the rice soaks up the amazing sauce. I recently made this version for some friends, and it was a hit.cocount curry chicken

The Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into chunks (you can also use thighs)
  • 5 large carrots, peeled and chopped
  •  1 medium onion, peeled and quartered
  • 2 cloves of garlic, peeled
  • 1 large bell pepper, seeded and chopped (actually this time I used a handful of the sweet mini peppers — a mixture of red, orange and yellow)
  • 1 (5 oz) can of tomato paste
  • 1 (14 oz) can of coconut milk
  • 1.5 teaspoon salt
  • 1 Tablespoon curry powder
  • 1 Tablespoon garam masala
  • 1 jalapeño (seeded and halved) OR 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 Tablespoons water
  • 1.5 Tablespoons cornstarch

The Instructions

  • Coat your crock pot with a cooking spray (like Pam)
  • Place the chicken and carrots at the bottom of the crock pot
  • Take all of the other ingredients (except for the cornstarch and water) and put them in your food processor until it is mostly smooth.
  • Pour sauce over the chicken and carrots in the crock pot and stir
  • Cover, cook on low for 6 hours
  • About an hour before it’s done, mix the cornstarch in the water, then add the mixture to the crock pot and stir well.

Serve over rice and enjoy! Garnish with fresh cilantro if you have it.

Crock Pot Teriyaki Chicken

teriyaki chickenThis recipe was so easy and delicious! I rarely like what comes out of the crock pot, so rest assured that any crock pot recipes that make it onto this blog are legitimately GOOD.

The Ingredients:

  • 4-5 chicken breasts (approximately 3 pounds)
  • 1.5 cups water
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce (I used reduced sodium)
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 3 Tablespoons cornstarch + 4 Tablespoons cold water

The Instructions:

  • Spray the inside of your crock pot with cooking spray.
  • Place chicken breasts into crock pot. I had a huge bag of frozen chicken from Costco, and I just rinsed off the protective ice glaze, but the chicken was largely still frozen. It was fine.
  • In a separate bowl combine 1.5 cups water, 1 cup brown sugar, 1/2 cup soy sauce, 1 teaspoon garlic powder and 1 teaspoon sesame oil.
  • Stir sauce to combine, and then pour on top of the chicken and cover the crock pot.
  • Cook on high for 4 hours or on low for 7 hours.
  • When the chicken is cooked and shreddable (I did this at the 4 hour mark while cooking on high), remove from crock pot and pull it apart.
  • Meanwhile, strain the bits from the sauce in the pot. I used a ladle and a strainer and kept scooping until it was mostly clean. You don’t HAVE to do this, but my kids would probably complain that there were pieces in their sauce.
  • Mix together the cornstarch and cold water, then add to crock pot.
  • Return the chicken to the pot. I shredded mine quite a bit, again thinking about small mouths eating dinner. Plus, it gets saucy and delicious.
  • Cover the crock pot and cook for an additional 30 minutes.

I served this over white rice and with a side of sautéd edamame and broccoli (yum).

Simple Black Beans and Rice

In an effort to jazz up taco night, I decided to make black beans and rice as a side dish to accompany our beef tacos and green salad. This recipe was easy, and it was a big hit with adults and kids.

The Ingredients:

  • bbandr1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2/4 cup uncooked white rice (I used jasmine)
  • 1.5 cups chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 3.5 cups canned black beans, drained and lightly rinsed

The Instructions:

  • In a pot over medium-high heat, heat the olive oil and then add the onions and garlic, sautéing for 4 minutes.
  • Add the rice and sauté for another 2 minutes.
  • Add the broth, bring to a boil, cover and lower the hear and cook for 20 minutes.
  • Add the spices and the black beans.

There were no leftovers.

No More Mushy Cauliflower

parmesan-roasted-cauliflowerThe cauliflower of my childhood took one of two forms: The frozen variety, in which the steamed or boiled veg took on a sponge-like quality; and the raw variety, OK to dip in dressings at a party, but not really acceptable on the dinner plate. A very simple seasoning and roasting has made this winter vegetable a side dish staple, and I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

The Ingredients

  • 1 head of cauliflower
  • 1 medium onion, sliced
  • 4 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 4 unpeeled cloves of garlic
  • 3 Tablespoons olive oil
  • kosher salt
  • freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

The Directions

  • Preheat your oven to 425 degrees — nice and hot
  • Cut the cauliflower into bite size florets
  • Toss cauliflower on baking sheet with the onion, thyme, garlic and olive oil; season with salt and pepper
  • Roast, stirring and tossing occasionally for 35 or so minutes until the cauliflower is almost tender
  • Sprinkle with Parmesan and continue to roast another 10 minutes more (cauliflower should then be tender)

Enjoy!

PS – Discard the thyme and garlic cloves.

Garlic Chicken (that the kids will eat)

Garlic ChickenThe other day I was looking to change up my typical chicken cutlet menu, and I stumbled across this yummy dish that was very easy and delicious. Bonus: my kids devoured their servings. I think we found a keeper.

The Ingredients

  • 2 teaspoons crushed garlic
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup dried breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 3 or 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

The Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees
  2. In a saucepan, gently warm the olive oil and garlic
  3. In a shallow dish, combine breadcrumbs and Parmesan cheese
  4. Cut your chicken breasts in half so you create double the number of thinner cutlets. This will help the chicken cook quickly and evenly.
  5. Dip chicken in garlic olive oil, then breadcrumb mixture.
  6. Place chicken cutlets on aluminum foil-lined baking sheet
  7. Bake 25 to 35 minutes until juices run clear. Time will vary depending on the thickness of your cutlets.

The chicken was incredibly moist and flavorful. I paired this entree with roasted broccoli (broccoli + olive oil + salt and pepper in a baking dish at the same time as the chicken) and mashed white potato/sweet potatoes (half and half).

We had one lonely cutlet leftover, so I took it to work and ate it with a piece of leftover lasagna … perfection!

Baked Eggs with Sausage and Cheese

baked eggsMy wonderful friend Jaclyn came over for our annual holiday brunch, and I tried out a new baked eggs recipe. I can’t wait to try a few spin-offs in the near future, as this is a fun, elegant way to dine! (and we are oh-so-elegant … ha ha)

The Ingredients:

  • Olive Oil
  • Half and Half (or heavy cream)
  • Large eggs
  • Cooked, crumbled sausage (you can either cook up some raw sausage or buy the pre-cooked links, like the chicken sausages I’ve suggested in my risotto recipe)
  • Grated, crumbled or shredded cheese of choice
  • Salt and pepper
  • 4 ounce ramekins

OK, I know some of the ingredient language is vague, but it all depends on how much you want to make. For me and Jac, we each had two eggs (so two full ramekins) and 8 ounces of sausage.

The Instructions:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees
  2. Cover a cookie sheet with aluminum foil.
  3. Grease ramekins (I sprayed with cooking spray) and place on foil-lined cookie sheet.
  4. Cook up sausage (if you are using raw meat) so it is cooked through and crumbly.
  5. Divide sausage into greased ramekins, leaving a little well for an egg.
  6. Break individual eggs and place in ramekins in sausage well. Be careful not to break the yolk.
  7. Cover eggs with cream (or half and half).
  8. Sprinkle ramekin tops with cheese of your choice (I used a sharp cheddar because I had it at home, but how awesome would a Gruyere be?!!)
  9. Add a dash of salt and pepper (if desired)
  10. Place cookie sheet in the center of the oven and cook about 10 or 15 minutes until the eggs are just set. Then, remove from the oven and eggs will continue to cook for 5 minutes. (Note: Jac doesn’t like runny eggs, so I cooked ours longer until the yolks were solid)

That’s it! Each person gets his or her own ramekin (or two or three). Serve with toast.

Once you’ve made this easy recipe, you’ll see how many variations are possible. Put any kind of protein in the bottom (ham, chicken, shrimp, crab, lobster … mmmmm ….), put an egg on top, cover with cream … how can you go wrong with that?!

Chicken with Lemon Caper Cream Sauce

chickenlemoncapersI made this dish recently and had forgotten how much I liked it. The sauce is so delicious and yet simple that I made another batch the next day to refresh my leftovers.

The Ingredients:

  • 1/2 medium sized onion (or a combination of onions and shallots), chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 and 1/4 cups chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoon dried dill
  • zest and juice from one lemon
  • 1/3 cup cream (or half and half)
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • approx 3.5 ounces of capers
  • 4 chicken breasts
  • 1 Tablespoon cornstarch

The Instructions:

  1. Slowly cook the onions, shallots and garlic in olive oil over medium heat in a saute pan. Stir frequently until onions are soft, but be careful not to brown the garlic.
  2. Add the chicken stock, lemon and dill. Then, turn up the heat and allow the mixture to boil for 5 minutes.
  3. Add the cream, Parmesan cheese and capers to the mixture, stirring frequently. Allow the sauce to return to a boil.
  4. Take about 1/2 cup of the sauce and combine it in a small bowl or cup with the cornstarch. Combine and then return to the saute pan.
  5. Add chicken breasts to the saute pan with the sauce and reduce the heat. Continue to stir and turn the chicken until the sauce is thickened and the chicken is cooked through.

Enjoy the chicken and sauce on top of Jasmine rice and serve with a green vegetable, like asparagus.

Simple, yet Delicious, Turkey Tetrazzini

turkey-tetrazziniIn honor of the Thanksgiving holiday, I bring you my all-time favorite leftover turkey recipe. I’m not sure why I always wait to have turkey leftovers to make this. There’s no reason why I couldn’t make it with chicken every other time of the year. This dish is gooey, cheesy and delicious.

The Ingredients:

  • 1 (16 ounce) package of uncooked spaghetti (thin)
  • 1/2 cup of butter
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 and 2/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • About 4 cups chopped cooked turkey

The Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees, and lightly grease a baking dish.
  2. Boil a large pot of salted water, and cook spaghetti al dente (8-10 minutes). Drain and place pasta in baking dish.
  3. Melt butter in large saucepan, then add flour. Whisk in milk and chicken broth, and cook until the mixture comes to a boil.
  4. Add 1 and 1/3 of the Parmesan cheese until melted/combined. Remove from heat.
  5. Combine pasta, cheese sauce and chopped turkey, and bake at 350 for about 1 hour. The top of the tetrazzini will be lightly browned.

Serve with veggies on the side – like steamed green beans.

Enjoy the cheesy, yummy goodness!