Lemon-Butter Chicken with Asparagus

Before I started grilling I kind of thought it was really simple.  I mean, why else would that be most men’s sole form of cooking?  I’m learning, however, how wrong I was.  I’ll give you that burgers and dogs are simple, once you get used to the grill.  And that’s the key, getting used to your grill.  Like oven and stove tops, they are all pretty unique in how they heat.  Some can take forever, such as the case with my crappy stove top, while others heat like a stove top is supposed.  I’m finding this pretty much sums it up with grills, too.  Also, finding that perfect spot to grill where the outside doesn’t get charred while leaving the inside raw.  And timing, when to turn it, when to move it, etc.  I’ve found a whole new appreciation for those that grill, and grill well.  But don’t tell them or I’ll deny it.  🙂

Ingredients:

Kosher salt
4 chicken pieces, with bone & skin, about 10-12 oz each piece
1½ lb asparagus
Olive oil
1 lemon, cut into 6 wedges (for garnish – optional)

Lemon Butter:

½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
3 Tbs finely chopped fresh Italian parsley (as a time saver sub Litehouse freeze-dried parsley)
2 tsp finely grated lemon zest
2 Tbs fresh lemon juice (which is super simple since you just zested one)
2 garlic cloves, minced

Preparation:

In a small bowl mash the lemon butter ingredients, including ¼ tsp each of salt and pepper, until thoroughly blended.  (This can be a bit challenging as the lemon juice and butter do no naturally combine well)

Carefully lift the skin of each piece of chicken, being careful to not puncture the skin.  Spread 1 tablespoon of lemon butter around under the skin.  Lay skin back in place.

Transfer remaining lemon butter to small saucepan and melt over medium heat.  Set aside

Prepare grill for direct and indirect heat over medium (350° to 450°F).

Remove and discard the tough bottom of each asparagus.  This is done easiest by taking one and bending it gently at the bottom until it snaps at its natural point, then line the rest up and cut them at about the same location.  Drizzle asparagus with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

Brush chicken with oil and season with salt and pepper.  Grill chicken, skin side up over direct medium heat, with the lid closed, until nicely marked on the bottom, about 5 minutes.  Without turning the chicken, move it over to indirect medium heat, close the lid and continue cooking until the meat is opaque all the way to the bone, about 30 minutes.  About 5 minutes before the chicken is done, brush the tops with some of the melted lemon butter and then turn chicken over to skin side down.  Slide over to direct medium heat, close the lid, and continue cooking until the skin is brown, basting once more with the lemon butter.  Remove from the grill, cover, and let rest 3 – 5 minutes.

Grill asparagus over direct medium heat, with the lid closed, until crisp tender, 6 – 8 minutes.  Turn occasionally.  Arrange asparagus on serving platter and drizzle with remaining butter.  Serve chicken warm with asparagus and garnish with lemon wedges.

Wine Pairing Suggestions:

Albariño
Barbera
Chardonnay
Pinot Gris / Pinot Grigio
Sauvignon Blanc

Serves 4

Prep time: 20 minutes / Grilling time:  43 minutes

Lemon-Butter Chicken with Asparagus

*Derived from Jamie Purviance

 


French Toast Muffins

When I first looked at this recipe, I was hesitant.  I’m not a pup anymore.  Remember when you could eat a huge cinnamon roll donut as a kid and be just fine until lunch?  Ya, me, too.  Try that now and I feel heavy and sick to my stomach.  Don’t even get me started on the feeling like a nap is imminent.  These are the reasons I had to pause.  But, I was making this ahead for Tahoe, so coupled with some eggs, if just might work.  And I dare say, it did!

Ingredients:

For muffins:

1 loaf French bread cut into 1/2″ cubes (challah is a great option here)
2 cups milk
6 eggs
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract (such as Spice Island)

For streusel topping:

1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
Pinch of nutmeg
1/2 cup cold butter, cut into pieces

Preparation:

Spray a 12-muffin pan with nonstick cooking spray.  Cut bread into cubes and completely fill each well with bread.  In a large bowl, whisk together milk, eggs, sugar, and vanilla.  Carefully pour mixture evenly over each muffin well, compressing the bread cubes to allow more liquid to be absorbed. Cover the tin with plastic wrap and refrigerate 2 – 12 hours.  (I refrigerated 2-3 hours and they were still amazing!)

Preheat oven to 350° and prepare streusel topping.  In a small bowl, combine flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, salt, nutmeg, and butter.  Use two forks or two knives to crumble mixture into coarse crumbs.  Sprinkle mixture evenly on muffins.

Bake muffins 20 – 25 minutes, or until tops are golden.  Let muffins cool about 5 minutes and serve warm.  These are great made ahead and then popped in the toaster oven.

Serves: 12 muffins
Total time: 2 hours, 40 minutes

Serves-4.com

*Derived from The Pioneer Woman

Caesar Salad & Pasta Primavera

I am so happy and beyond excited to be able to share my “Guest Blogger” with you today.  I’m going to have to do the typing for her because, well, she’s 5 1/2 and this would take all day.  My youngest foodie D wanted to take a cooking class that was being offered through her school, and I couldn’t think of any reason to say No.  I mean, my little angel girl loves cooking, like her mommy?!?!!  She has always been my little foodie, ready and willing to try anything.  She absolutely adores food and as soon as she finishes one meal, she is already thinking about the next.  On Sunday she was making cookies and I caught her talking lovingly to her dough.  Does it get any better?  I think it just might!  Yesterday was her first day of her cooking class and she came home buzzing with excitement from her class.  They got to eat their food in class, but she also brought a plate home to share with the family.  We all raised our hands in agreement that her food was “super yummy!”  I am pleased to share with you her results.

Caesar Salad

Ingredients:

3 medium heads romaine lettuce; chilled, dry, and crisp
1/3 cup garlic olive oil
2-3 Tbs wine vinegar
1 lemon – halved
2 One Minute coddled eggs
Salt to taste
Dash Worchester sauce
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
6 Tbs grated Parmesan cheese (can add more)
1 cup Caesar croutons

Preparation:

Bring a sauce pan of water to boil.  Gently add eggs and turn heat to low, set timer for 2 minutes.  Remove eggs with slotted spoon or wire mesh strainer.  Cool in cold water and set aside.

Into a chilled salad bowl, break romaine leaves into 2 inch widths.  Drizzle with garlic olive oil and vinegar.  Squeeze juice from lemon over the top.  Break coddled eggs over lettuce, toss many times to ensure everything is thoroughly mixed.  Season with salt, pepper, and Worchester sauce.  Sprinkle with parmesan cheese.  Toss six or seven times until dressing is well combined and every leaf is coated.  Add croutons.  Serve immediately.

Pasta Primavera

Ingredients:

1 lb Italian style spaghetti
1 cup thinly sliced zucchini
1 ½ cup snow peas (can use frozen)
1 cup baby peas (can use frozen)
6 asparagus sliced in 1″ pieces
1 cup sliced mushrooms
1 (16 oz) can peeled tomatoes, drained and chopped
3 Tbs olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
¼ cup chopped fresh parsley (can sub 1/8 cup if using dried)
2 tsp minced garlic
½ cup freshly grated parmesan
¹⁄³ cup butter
1 cup heavy cream (can sub low-fat milk)
¹⁄³ cup fresh, chopped basil

Preparation:

Cook pasta in large pot boiling water.

Briefly cook the green vegetables and mushrooms in water (or steam).  When crisp tender, refresh by running under cold water.  In large frying pan heated to medium, sauté tomatoes and parsley in olive oil.  Add all of the vegetables and simmer until heated through.

Add cooked pasta, cheese, cream, butter, and basil.  Toss to coat.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

Serve hot, with chilled Caesar salad.

Wine Pairing Suggestions:

Fume Blanc
Grüner Veltliner
Muscadet
Sauvignon Blanc

Both recipes serve 6

Caesar Salad & Pasta Primavera

Caesar Salad & Pasta Primavera


Easy Fried Rice

There is not a lot that intimidates me, especially with cooking.  I view life as a “roll-up your sleeves and give it a try” ride.  This has translated very well to my cooking.  Sure, I’ve had my major flubs (#thoseareNOTsnickerdoodles, #omgthatshorrible), but it doesn’t stop me from trying new things or rejected things over again.  And then we come to fried rice.  I know, I know.  Fried rice?!?!  Really?  Fried rice??  You don’t say.  But, I come by my intimidation quite easily, I simply adore fried rice.  You know how you set someone up in your mind as just the end-all, be-all of X (insert talent here).  But you don’t want to actually meet Said Talent of X because what if they turn out to be a real jerk and forever change your opinion of them?  Well, that’s kind of how I feel about fried rice.  Now, before you attempt to cart me off in a straight jacket for a padded cell, let me explain.  I so adore fried rice that I was terrified of messing it up SO bad that it would be forever etched on my brain.  And I would never be able to go to OIC Bowl again and stare lovingly at my bowl of fried rice without images of how badly I ruined it.  So there you have it, rational or not.  This attempt, however, has turned it around for me.  I’ve concurred fried rice, and still love it!

Ingredients:

2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup shredded (uncooked) carrots
1 cup sliced green onions, divided
3 cups cooked rice
½ cup thawed frozen peas
¼ low sodium soy sauce

Preparation:

Spritz a large nonstick pan with cooking spray and heat over medium-high heat.  Add eggs, making sure to cover the bottom of the pan with the eggs.  When eggs start to set, break them into pieces and cook about 1 more minute, until cooked through.  Remove from pan and set aside.

Spritz pan 1 more time; when re-warmed, add carrots and all but 2 Tbs of green onions; sauté until carrots are crisp-tender; about 2 to 3 minutes.

Stir in cooked rice, peas and soy cause; cook until heated through, stirring once or twice, about 1 minute.  Gently stir in cooked egg and remaining scallions; heat through.

Wine Pairing Suggestions:

Grüner Veltliner
Gewürztraminer
Riesling

Serves 6

Total time: 30 minutes

East Fried Rice

Easy Fried Rice

*Derived from Weight Watchers

Cucumber Caprese Salad

I’m a sucker for caprese anything.  I just love the way the mozzarella tastes so creamy against the acid of the balsamic vinegar and the tomatoes and basil adding a fresh, clean feeling.  How can it get any better?  Toss in some cucumber.  The amazing crispness it brings is a wonderful addition to an already awesome dish!

Ingredients:

2 cucumbers
1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes
2 Tbs chipped fresh basil
1 cup fresh mozzarella, cubed
1 avocado
1 Tbs olive oil
2 Tbs balsamic vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste

Preparation:

Cut cucumbers into 1/4″ slices, then cut the slices in half.  Cut tomatoes in 1/2.  Dice avocado.  Place cucumbers through avocado in a bowl and set aside.

To a small jar with a tight-fitting lid add olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and salt and pepper to taste.  Close tightly and shake to combine. 

Add dressing to salad and gently toss to combine.

Wine Pairing Suggestions:

Barbera
Chianti
Friulano
Sangiovese
Sauvignon Blanc

Serves 4

Total time: 15 minutes

Cucumber Caprese Salad

Cucumber Caprese Salad

*Derived from Fitsugar

Rosemary Parmesan Rolls

Once again I was making my amazing Maple Salmon , this is a frequent dish in our house.  The hubs and the kids love it.  And I never tire of making such a tasty, healthy, supremely easy dish.  I thought about making my Buttery Corn bread, too.  But, quite frankly, I just didn’t feel like putting in the effort.  Perused my baking recipes and nothing jumped out saying, “Make ME tonight! Make me!!”  I guess I would just toast some slices of Pulgiese like usual.  As I was in the refrigerator I discovered a can of crescent rolls that were quickly coming to the end of their shelf life.  I grabbed it, but am not a big fan of canned crescent roll.  I wonder what else I could come up with . . .

Ingredients:

1 regular size can refrigerated crescent rolls
2 Tbs garlic olive oil (such as Garlic Gold)
3 tsp Rosemary (next time I’ll used crushed)
1/2 to 1 Cup shredded Parmesan

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 375°

Open can of crescent rolls, pinch seams together and roll flat, about the size of a small cookie sheet.  Pour garlic olive oil into small bowl and with pastry brush, evenly brush dough with oil.  Sprinkle with rosemary and then parmesan cheese.  Roll into tight log and cut into 1″ thick slices.

Place flat on parchment lined cookie sheet and brush with remaining garlic olive oil.  Bake 10-15 minutes, until golden.

Serves 6

Total time: 30 minutes

Rosemary Parmesan Rolls

Rosemary Parmesan Rolls

 *Original Serves-4 Recipe

Spring Mix with Apples, Toasted Almonds and Basalmic Dressing

Even though I had planned the menu completely, on this particular evening, I just needed something simple.  The kids, of course, voted for plain pasta with butter.  Not something I’ll usually go for, but this was not a usual type day.  That left me, and the hubs, who was still at work.  I wanted something light, that would fill me up without making me feel heavy.  I pulled our container of spring mix salad from the refrigerator.  Grabbed an avocado and some cherry tomatoes.  Whoops.  That avocado doesn’t feel to good.  And it wasn’t.  Hmm, back to the drawing board.  After digging around I came up with a couple of Golden Delicious apples, a container of shaved almonds and also some shaved parmesan.  This is the result.  Hope you enjoy it as much as we did!

Ingredients:

FOR THE SALAD

2 cups baby spring mix (such as Organic Girl)
1 ½ Apples thinly sliced (I would have had 2 whole apples had little hands not stolen so many slices 🙂 )
1/3 cup shaved almonds
1/2 – 1 cup shaved parmesan

FOR THE DRESSING

3 Tbs red wine vinegar
3 Tbs balsamic vinegar
½ cup olive oil
2 Tbs granulated sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp freshly ground black pepper

Preparation:

In a small jar combine red wine vinegar, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, sugar, salt, and pepper.  Close lid and shake vigorously to mix.  Set aside.

Put almonds on toaster oven safe tray.  Spread flat and toast lightly, stirring occasionally.

While almonds toast, thinly slice apple and add to a large bowl with spring mix and shaved parmesan.  When almonds are lightly toasted, allow to cool slightly and add to salad mix.  Give jar of dressing one more shake and slowly drizzle over salad to desired amount.  Toss to coat evenly.

Wine Pairing Suggestions:

Chardonnay
Gerwurtztraminer
Riesling
Sauvignon Blanc
Semillon

Serves 4 as side or 2 as main course

Total time: 15 minutes

Salad with Apples and Toasted Almonds

Salad with Apples and Toasted Almonds

*Original Serves-4 Recipe