Archive for ‘Side Dish’

February 24, 2011

Jumps-into-your-mouth Chicken Saltimbocca!

So, I had a major prosciutto craving. I’m not even the slightest bit ashamed either because it’s been a while since the two of us have dined together, so it was only right that I rekindle the flame. Yes, I’m still talking about my love for prosciutto.

I had always liked prosciutto, but it wasn’t until I lived in Italy that I really fell in love with the meat. Over there, it’s never just an ingredient, it’s the star of the dish. You can always find a cured hunk of ham leg, bone and all, hanging from butcher shops or local grocery stores, being delicately sliced by request. My homestay mom, Flora, would bring home the best prosciutto crudo (cured ham) and prosciutto cotto (cooked ham), simply paired with mozzarella di bufala (buffalo mozzarella cheese) and a dash of balsamic and oilo nuovo (which is the very freshest olive oil, vibrant green in color).

One day, she asked me what I would like to eat for dinner: mind you, this was a rarity because she cooked what she felt like that day and never took orders ahead of time. So, as I was put on the spot, I tried so hard to think of a dish I really loved, that had not already been prepared before. Little Yellow Note: Flora was a culinary genius and always had a new recipe up her sleeve.

With a huge smile on my face and with such an air of confidence, I blurted out: “Chicken Saltimbocca.” Why you ask?? Well, I hate to admit it, but this prosciutto-topped chicken dish from Buca di Beppo was really delicious, and I wanted the authentic version, straight out of Italy. The only problem was that she had no idea what I was talking about. I forgot to mention that there was a huge language barrier at first, as I spoke no Italian, and they spoke no English. Oh an also, the word saltimbocca means “jumps in the mouth.” No wonder why I got a blank stare when I asked for “chicken that jumps in my mouth!” Apparently, they have a different name for the dish.

I think that night she ended up making prosciutto and cheese panini’s. Clearly not what I asked for, but it was delicious, regardless. I am fairly sure that Flora figured out what I was asking for later in my stay there, as she provided a feast of prosciutto-topped veal. It was close enough. My belly was happy.

Without further adieu, here is one of the most flavorful Italian dishes!

Chicken Saltimbocca:

Salt and pepper the chicken, then wrap each tender in a cozy blanket of prosciutto. Then top with whole sage leaves, although you may want to tuck them in just a tad, to ensure that they stay in place.

Make a plastic wrap envelope and place the chicken inside, spaced apart so that they have room to be tenderized. Don’t be alarmed, they will grow a bit.

Next, lightly dredge in flour and place in the pan with the melted butter and oil combo, sage-side down.

Afer 3-4 minutes, it’s time to flip the chicken cutlets!

Set cooked chicken aside, and prepare the wine shallot sauce. Then arrange the chicken-prosciutto wonderfullness with pretty little lemon slices, drizzle with sauce and EAT!

Ingredients:

  • 6 chicken cutlets (we used 6 chicken tenders)
  • 6 thin slices prosciutto
  • 12 sage leaves, more for garnish
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 2 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine, a little extra won’t hurt 🙂
  • 1/2 cup organic chicken broth
  • 1/2 shallot, chopped
  • Salt and black pepper
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • Lemon slices

Directions:

1. Pat each tender dry and sprinkle with a little salt and pepper. Wrap a slice of prosciutto around a chicken tender and tuck in two sage leaves, just enough to keep them in place while cooking. Repeat this step for each of the chicken tenders.
2. Place chicken tenders between a long piece of plastic wrap, and with a rolling pin, gently pound cutlets to an even 1/4-inch thickness. You want to pound the chicken after it is nicely wrapped up in prosciutto and sage, in order to help distribute the flavors and pound the ingredients into the chicken.

3.  Shovel the flour onto a plate and dip the pounded chicken in it, lightly coating each side. Heat a tablespoon of butter and the olive oil in a large pan. When the butter is melted and starts foaming, add the chicken cutlets to the pan, sage-side down. Cook 3 to 4 minutes per side, turning once, until lightly browned, a little crispy and cooked through. Transfer to a plate and cover to keep warm, while making the sauce.

4. Add wine to the hot pan and stir with a wooden spoon to de-glaze the pan. Add in the shallots and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Let the wine reduce by half, then add the chicken broth and reduce by half again. Turn off the heat and stir in remaining tablespoon of butter (we used a little less than a Tbsp). Pour over the plated cooked chicken cutlets and it’s ready to serve with lemon wedges.

*Little Yellow Note: we crisped up a little more sage to add to the tops of the chicken…we love the extra flavor!

Lemon Garlic Asparagus:

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 lb asparagus
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • salt & pepper, to taste

Directions:

1. Trim the bottoms of the asparagus. This is easy to to by hand, by snapping off the bottom portion.

2. Heat the oil in a medium pan, add the garlic and cook for a minute. Add the asparagus and stir it up. Squeeze in the lemon and add a dash of salt and pepper, to taste, and you got yourself a simple side-dish!

Multigrain Garlic Crostini:

Ingredients:

  • multigrain loaf–we got ours from TJ’s
  • fresh parmeggiano reggiano cheese, shredded or shaved
  • rosemary, dried or fresh
  • garlic, for rubbing
  • olive oil

Directions:

1. Cut bread into 1 inch thick slices. Drizzle each piece with olive oil and sprinkle with chopped rosemary.

2. Place under the broiler for a few minutes until they look golden and crispy… Keep an eye out for these puppies! They can burn quickly, so stay near the oven to constantly check on them.

3. Take slices of bread out and rub vigorously with garlic. Top with a few shreds of cheese and place back under the broiler for another minute or two, or until desired melted-ness is reached.

4. Serve with meal!

Look! It's quite the balanced meal! Buon appetito!

 

From the Little Yellow Kitchen,

-Chrissy



February 16, 2011

Mac n’ Cheese n’ Salami

Chris and I celebrated our Valentine’s Day together on Sunday by having a lovely picnic/Element tailgate at Cabrillo National Monument. The afternoon’s menu consisted of vintage cheddar cheese (by far my new fav Trader Joe’s  cheese), Sopressa salami, crackers and a breathtaking view of San Diego and beyond.

Later that evening I used the left over vintage cheddar cheese (I can’t say how good this was enough times) and Sopressa salami to make Mac & Cheese & Salami. Do I know the way to a man’s heart or what? They can never say no to mac n’ cheese — especially if you add meat to it.

The golden crispy top gets me every time. The creamy cheese and salty salami combo was slammin’! Slammin’? I haven’t used that word since 1997 or so…I should bring it back.

Want a bite?? Open up…

This recipe was much easier this time than it has been in the past. I usually complicate things by using 3-4 different cheeses. This was also my fifth or six time doing it so I guess it should be easier now, right?

Oh, and Chris shredded all the cheese for me. Be sure you hand a man the grater. If you let him watch TV at the same time he won’t even know he’s doing all the work for you.

First step is to make your cheese sauce and add the nutmeg, salt and pepper.

Dump your heart shaped pasta into the sauce.

Top with a sprinkle of bread crumbs and bake until the top is golden and crispy.

Ingredients:

1/2 lb elbow macaroni (or heart shaped pasta)

1/2 cup Sopressa salami, diced — I recommend sauteing your salami a little bit before hand so that it can crisp up!

1 1/2 very sharp cheddar, shredded

1 1/2 cups white cheddar (or Gruyere), shredded

2 cups milk

1/2 cup flour

3/4 cup Italian seasoned bread crumbs

1/2 tsp nutmeg

Salt and Pepper, to taste

Directions

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Cook the macaroni (or heart shaped pasta) according to the directions on the package. Drain well. If they stick together, drizzle some oil into them and toss it around.

Heat the milk in a small saucepan, be careful not to let it boil. Melt 3 tablespoons of butter in a large pot (you will be adding the pasta to it later on) and add the flour. Cook over low heat for 2 minutes, stirring with a whisk. Continue whisking as you slowly add the hot milk. Cook until it becomes thick and all the clumps are smoothed. Stir in the nutmeg, salt and pepper.Turn off the heat and add the cheeses of your choice and the salami. Add the cooked macaroni and stir well. Pour into a medium sized baking dish or ramekins.

Melt the remaining 1 tablespoons of butter and mix in the bread crumbs. Sprinkle the mixture on top. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes if in a baking dish, or until the sauce is bubbly and the macaroni is browned on the top. Ramekins only need 10 to 15 minutes.

From the Little Yellow Kitchen,

Lauren

February 11, 2011

Lemony Chicken Noodle Soup

Come join Soup-a-Palooza at TidyMom and Dine and Dish sponsored by Bush’s Beans, Hip Hostess, Pillsbury and Westminster Cracker.

It’s a great time to indulge in some soup for the soul! I hope this Lemony Chicken Noodle Soup wins!

 

If you haven’t seen already, we have a new header on the home page! Yes, these are all our own foodie pics, as well as our own featured Little Yellow Kitchen! We decided that it’s about time to let the world see the real LYK!

Oh and also, thanks for being such great readers! Today our Lemon Herb Dutch Oven Chicken is  featured on the wordpress homepage! It’s been so exciting!

So, now that we spent all that time cooking a chicken from scratch, its time to really reap the benefits of labor. From what I learned from my mother, a chicken (or Thanksgiving turkey) is the gift that keeps on giving. Leftovers are always delicious, and it is the perfect addition to a sourdough bread sandwich. But when the meats of your labor are all gone, and all that is left are the skin and bones, there is still so much more flavor to harvest. Yes, we are talking about homemade lemon chicken noodle soup.

Our rosemary plant outside was growing wild. Check out these flowers! We plucked them off before chopping the rosemary, but i bet they would taste fine…?

Veggies. Add lots and lots of veggies. Our theory: the more, the merrier!

This lemon-y homemade delight is definitely some soup for the soul. All that love and extra toiling, really pays off!

If you haven’t already been curious as to why we didn’t go crazy with pictures this time, well, it’s largely due to the simple fact that a chicken carcass isn’t the most photo friendly piece of food. The process may not be pretty, but the result sure is! Happy cooking!

Ingredients:

1 chicken frame

fresh rosemary, finely chopped

fresh thyme, finely chopped

juice of 2 lemons, peel of 1 lemon

1 onion, chopped

4-5 stalks of celery, chopped

4-5 carrots, peeled and chopped

1 16 oz package of sliced crimini mushrooms

3 green onions, chopped

1/2 cup uncooked red quinoa

3/4 lb piccolini farfalle pasta (baby bow ties)

Salt to taste

1 tsp Pepper

Directions:

1. Pick through the chicken frame (that’s just a fancy way to say “carcass”), to glean as much leftover meat as you can. Usually, there is still so much left on the bone, it’s just hidden.  Normally, I leave just a little breast meat on the frame so that there is a nice mixture of dark and white meat in the soup. Put meat aside.

2. Fill up your biggest pot with water and start the heat. When it is almost boiling, drop in the chicken frame, along with some salt and a sprig of rosemary. Let simmer on medium or medium-low for at least an hour and a half. The longer you can withstand the tantalizing aromatics, the richer the broth will be.

3. Strain the broth. This is so important to do, because it strains out any small bones or unwanted skin and fat.

4. Pour the strained broth back into the pot, and bring back up to a simmer. Toss in the carrots, celery, onion, mushrooms, chopped herbs, pepper, salt, lemon juice and lemon peel, and cover. Let simmer for another 15 minutes. Add in the uncooked red quinoa and cover, but remember to stir occasionally.

5. Toss in the cooked chicken that was set aside earlier. In the last 7-8 minutes of cooking, add in the pasta. Once the noodles are cooked through, it’s ready to serve!

Little Yellow Note: If there wasn’t enough chicken picked off the frame, feel free to quickly cook up a few chicken breasts/tenderloins to pump up the protein!

 

From the Little Yellow Kitchen

-Chrissy

February 9, 2011

Lemon Herb Dutch Oven Chicken

I have been wanting to do this for a while now… but I needed a little inspiration. Thanks so much Julie @ The Little Kitchen !

With the temptation of a delicious  rotisserie chicken at a steal of a price for just $6.99 and ready to eat, it’s so hard to turn down. And the stores are smart, they always have these sitting on a warmer, right near the checkout. Normally, I’d just grab one and go, but not this time; this time I sacked up and bought a little raw 4.5 lb fryer chicken, some veggies and herbs, and set out on a culinary adventure. Not only does it give me the satisfaction of knowing I cooked a tasty chicken from scratch, but also it gives me the liberty to incorporate different flavors with much less sodium! Score!

Here’s how the fun process works:

First, grate some lemon peel.

Combine lemon peel with chopped fresh rosemary and thyme, and some salt and pepper and a pad of  butter.

Rub the herb butter on chicken breast, underneath the skin. This will  make it super moist and extra tasty!

Coarsely chop carrots, celery, and onion.

Make the Spice Rub and apply to the skin of the chicken….really rub it on there good,  you won’t regret it.

Then stuff the cavity of the chicken with a few handfuls of veggies, along with a quartered lemon and a sprig of rosemary.

I bet right now you are getting so excited that you are almost ready to get your little guy cooking. I know that I was so giddy… but first, you should infuse some olive oil with a few smashed cloves of garlic and rosemary.

Put the chicken in, breast-side down to brown for 5 minutes. Add the remainder of the veggies around the chicken.

Flip the chicken over, breast-side up, and let other side brown for another 5 minutes. I threw some more thyme on top too, just for fun.

Put the lid on the b-e-a-utiful dutch oven, and put in the oven.

After about 30 minutes, pull it out and pour in the wine along with placing  the quartered potatoes on top. Put the top back on and pop back in the oven for another half n hour or so.

Check done-ness with instant thermometer (our new kitchen tool, compliments of Lauren’s dad, Thanks Mike!)

Take chicken out of the pot, and set on cutting board (with grooves, so juice doesn’t flow all over the place), cover with foil for 20 minutes.

Transfer the potatoes to a bowl.

Add in parmesan cheese, chopped rosemary and thyme, salt and pepper, a pad of butter, and some milk. Get smashing, until preferred texture.

Strain out the juices from the solids, applying a little pressure on the solids to help the process, and discard them. Then let the juices settle and spoon out the fat, which is that whole top layer. Cook the remaining juice with lemon juice and serve this “sauce” with the chicken & smashed potatoes!

Meanwhile, chop up some onions, green bell pepper, and trim some asparagus. Drizzle with olive oil and a little balsamic vinegar, and sprinkle with garlic salt. Let bake in the oven for about 10 minutes.

Plate the chicken, smashed potatoes, and crispy balsamic veggies… and you have an amazing 100% home-cooked 3 dish dinner!!

Ingredients:

1 whole roasting chicken (41/2 to 5 pounds), giblets removed and discarded,

salt & pepper

1-2 Tbsp olive oil

1 medium onion, chopped

4 celery stalks, chopped

4 carrots, peeled and chopped

7 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed

3 sprigs fresh rosemary (one to stuff in the chicken, and one to finely chop)

2 Tbsp fresh thyme, finely chopped

1 Tbsp butter

2 Tbsp lemon peel, grated

1 tsp lemon juice

1/2 cup dry white wine

4 red potatoes, cleaned and quartered

Spice rub: (1 tsp cayenne pepper, 2 tsp paprika, 1 tsp onion powder, 2 tsp salt, 1 tsp pepper) This combination was inspired from The Little Kitchen blog

Chicken Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and arrange racks to make room for dutch oven.

2. Pat the chicken dry with paper towels and season outside with spice rub (see directions above).

3. Mix butter, rosemary, thyme, and lemon peel and distribute evenly underneath the skin, atop the chicken breast. Stuff the chicken cavity with the carrots, celery, onions, 4 cloves smashed garlic, sprig of rosemary, 2-3 wedges of lemon.

4. In a large Dutch oven over high, heat the oil and add small sprig of rosemary (only the leaves) along with 3 smashed cloves of garlic to infuse the oil. Add the chicken, breast-side down. Scatter the remaining onion, celery, and carrots around chicken.

5. Cook until the breast is lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Flip the chicken breast-side up and cook another  6 to 8 minutes. Add in the wine.

6. Cover with lid and transfer the pot to the oven and cook until an instant-read thermometer registers 160 degrees when inserted in thickest part of breast and 175 degrees in thickest part of thigh, about 60 to 80 minutes. Halfway through, throw the quartered red potatoes on top, close the lid and return to oven.

7. Once it’s finished cooking, first take out the quartered potatoes and put aside, in a medium bowl. Then, transfer the chicken to carving board, tent with foil and let rest for 20 minutes.

8. Now the fat has to be separated from the juice. While the chicken is resting, strain chicken juices from the pot through fine-mesh strainer into a glass measuring bowl, pressing on solids to extract liquid. Discard the solids (carrots/celery/onion). You don’t want to eat the veggies since they are doused in fat, although I suppose they are tasty.

9. Allow the liquid to settle, about 3 minutes, then pour back into dutch oven and set over low heat.

10. Carve the chicken, adding any accumulated juices to the saucepan (if at all possible). Stir lemon juice into the saucepan to create some really delicious “au jus” type sauce, and serve with chicken.

Herb-Parmesan Smashed Potatoes preparation:

1. Smash potatoes with fork, or a masher if you have it.

2. Add a pad of butter, 2 Tbsp of grated parmesan cheese, 1/4-1/2 cup milk, 1 tsp chopped fresh thyme, and 1 tsp chopped fresh rosemary, salt and pepper to taste. Mix until desired consistency (it’s best to start with less liquid, and then adding more as needed). Also it would be a great idea to add in a few tablespoons of the chicken “au jus”.

3. Enjoy!

From the Little Yellow Kitchen

-Chrissy

February 7, 2011

Spicy Pepper Jack Fondue

Who doesn’t adore fondue? There are some restaurants solely devoted to serving this luxurious preparation of food. From cheese, to meat, to chocolate, fondue is one of those special-occasion delicacies. Even though we prepared this Spicy Pepper Jack Cheese Fondue for Lauren’s birthday, we’d like to think that if it was healthier, we wouldn’t need a special occasion to make it. But let’s be honest, this cheesey pot of love has to involve some stickin’ on the hips, so maybe we will keep with the “special occasion” criteria.  Regardless, you MUST TRY THIS!


A simple fondue makes for a happy tummy. These are all the ingredients you will need!

Flour and shredded cheese, combined. The next step is….

The melting! Its easiest to melt cheese in thirds, adding the wine and pepper in halfway through.

A nice, even consistency is what you are looking for. This double boiler action is the key to fondue success!

 

Fresh baked bread (from the store, or from your oven) is always a great fondue dipper, as well as a variety of  crunchy veggies.

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cup pepper jack cheese, shredded

1 cup white cheddar cheese, shredded

1 1/2 Tbsp flour

1/2 cup dry white wine

dash of pepper

stuff for dipping! (veggies or bread, they both work great)

Directions:

1.  Coat shredded cheese with flour

2.  Add 2-3  inches of water in a medium sauce pan, and bring to a boil. Once boiling, place a large metal bowl in the boiling water, to create a Double Boiler (check out that link for a great “how to” on double boilers from the Baking Bites blog).

3.  Turn down the heat to medium (so the water isn’t boiling like crazy out of the saucepan) and add 1/3 of the floured cheese into the metal bowl, and whisk. When the cheesy contents are melted, add 1/3 more of the cheese along with some pepper and the wine. Whisk until combined, then add the remaining cheese.

4. Transfer into a fondue pot and turned on the low-heat setting (so the cheese doesn’t burn).

5. Cube up a loaf of french bread, or arrange a variety of veggies (raw or blanched) and use these to dig into that cheesy fondue dip.

6. Enjoy. Fondue is so delicious, how could you not?

From the Little Yellow Kitchen

-Chrissy