Monthly Archives: August 2013

Roasted Red Pepper Dip

I think I have found my most favorite dip I’ve ever made.  Ever.  I have to admit that when I first saw the recipe for this Roasted Red Pepper Dip, I didn’t really have high expectations.  I like roasted red peppers and think they provide a fantastically bold flavor to dishes but the thought of an entire roasted red pepper dip didn’t really shake me in my shoes.  The simplicity of this dish was what drew me to it and since I’ve been sucked into catching up on Game of Thrones from the very beginning, I didn’t want anything to take me away from my iPad and another episode featuring Jon Snow.  But this dip left me standing in my kitchen chowing down scoop after scoop of this awesome dip.

Jarred roasted red peppers are blended in a food processor with toasted almonds, garlic, sherry vinegar, grated Parmesan cheese, and a little olive oil.  A small piece of whole wheat bread adds a thickening consistency and a dab of smoked paprika (my favorite spice EVER) gives the whole dip a smoky little hug.  I ate this dip with these amazing multigrain tortilla chips but this dip would be just as great with, well, anything.  Chips, pretzels, cucumbers, carrots…I even think this would be a perfect sauce for some pasta and veggies, it’s really so good.  You might already have the ingredients on hand (if you don’t have sherry vinegar, red wine vinegar can be substituted) so next time you are at the store, pick up a jar of roasted red peppers and make this when you need a quick snack or appetizer.  You won’t be disappointed.

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The ingredients:

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Place bell peppers, almonds, bread, garlic clove, olive oil, vinegar, grated ­Parmesan, water, and paprika in a food processor; process until smooth.

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Serve with multigrain chips or sliced veggies.

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Additions:  None

Omissions:  None

Substitutions:  None

Overall Rating:  Love It

Source:  Cooking Light magazine

Peach and Gorgonzola Chicken Pizza

Sometimes I forget that I actually like blue cheese.  Or at least some blue cheese.  Ever since I made Pear Chutney Bruschetta with Pecans and Gorgonzola so long ago, I’ve become much more likely to make a dish that calls for blue cheese.  Before, I would substitute feta which isn’t even close to the same flavor.  But even though I’ve come a long way, I still eat ranch with my buffalo wings and substitute gorgonzola for real blue cheese.  A tiger can’t change it’s stripes.  This Peach and Gorgonzola Chicken Pizza is a good way for someone to baby step their way into the world of blue cheese.

Prebaked pizza crust is topped with sliced fresh peaches, crumbled gorgonzola cheese, shredded chicken, and mozzarella cheese.  After baking, a reduction of balsamic vinegar is drizzled over the top to add yet another bold taste which enhances the whole pie.  The sweetness of the peaches, the bite of the gorgonzola, and the tang of the balsamic vinegar all make for a perfect marriage of unique pizza flavors. With nary a tomato in sight, this isn’t your typical pizza.  But it’s ease and amazing combination of flavors makes for a quick week night dinner that’s perfect for a warm summer night.

If you like this, also check out Apple, Ricotta Cheese, and Pecan Pizza.

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The ingredients:

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Place pizza crust on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Brush 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil evenly over crust.

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Top evenly with 1/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese, chicken, Gorgonzola cheese, and peach slices.

DSC04544 Top with remaining 1/4 cup mozzarella. Bake in a preheated 400°F oven for 11 minutes or until crust browns.

DSC04545 Place vinegar in a small saucepan over medium-high heat; cook until reduced to 2 tablespoons (about 5 minutes).

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Drizzle balsamic reduction evenly over pizza.

DSC04547 Cut pizza into 8 wedges.

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Additions:  None

Omissions:  None

Substitutions:  None

Overall Rating:  Love It

Source:  Cooking Light magazine

Black and White Chicken Chili

August can be strange because it’s still beach weather but with the school supply commercials and preseason football on the television and cooler-weather clothes in the stores, it can tease your mind into thinking it’s already fall outside.  Just the sound of the whistles blowing during a football game sends me to the kitchen with the urge to make chili.  But since it’s still hot outside, I didn’t want to spend a lot of time standing over the stove.  This Black and White Chicken Chili couldn’t have been any easier or any faster to make.

Navy beans, black beans and salsa verde are warmed together before adding in chicken (I used precooked rotisserie chicken which saved TONS of time!).  That’s it!  Obviously you can add in any vegetables or spices you want (just taste it first).  Once it’s all warmed through, I topped the bowl with feta cheese, lime juice and scallions.  Talk about simple.  The whole time I thought there weren’t enough ingredients for this to be a flavorful chili but it really was.  I did add a teaspoon of cumin and some black pepper which added a little spice but I completely underestimated the flavor of the green salsa in this.  It is spicy, salty and everything you want in an everyday chili.  Since I used precooked chicken, this whole dish took about ten minutes to make.  If you want a quick chili that can be made in a flash, try this.

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The ingredients:

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Drain and rinse the beans. In large saucepan, mix beans with salsa, chicken and 1/2 cup water (or if using precooked chicken, omit the chicken in this step).

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Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring often, about 8 minutes. Remove chicken; shred and stir into chili (or add precooked chicken, if using).

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Serve chili with toppings and lime wedges.

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Additions:

  • Cumin
  • Black pepper

Omissions:  None

Substitutions:

  • Reduced-fat feta cheese
  • Scallions

Overall Rating:  Love It

Source:  Everyday with Rachael Ray magazine

Grilled Chicken Florentine Pasta

I have to say that I’m pretty happy about the fact that I don’t eat nearly as much pasta as I used to.  Considering at one point, about ten years ago, I ate pasta on a nightly basis (with nary a vegetable in sight), the once in a blue moon pasta I now have is all that more enjoyable.  I could very easily get back into a routine of eating pasta all the time but I actually like only eating it once in a while.  In an Italian restaurant, if I’m going to splurge on pasta, the first thing I look for is some kind of pasta mixed with veggies in a cream sauce.  It’s bad, I know, but it’s what I love when I let myself eat it.  This Grilled Chicken Florentine Pasta is a perfect pasta dinner, in my humble opinion, which can easily be made at home.

Milk, chicken broth and Parmesan cheese are cooked until thick and bubbly before being mixed with spinach to create a creamy Florentine sauce.  Chicken, which has been grilled, is added with freshly cooked linguine to the sauce to make a light pasta dish reminiscent of pasta alfredo.  This was such a simple pasta dish to make and can easily be made with any preferred pasta, any preferred cheese, or any preferred vegetable.  Instead of bone-in chicken, I used chicken tenderloins  but I think precooked rotisserie chicken would be a great quick substitute also.  A dish with such versatility is one that I can really get behind.  Because the creamy sauce is made with broth in addition to the milk helps to keep calories down without sacrificing flavor.  I used 1% lowfat milk instead of whole milk and I didn’t feel like any flavors were sacrificed.  If you are looking for a warm, comfort food pasta dish, try this!

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The ingredients:

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Prepare grill to medium-high heat.  Sprinkle chicken with 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Place chicken on grill rack coated with cooking spray, and grill until internal temperature reads 165 degrees.

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Cook the pasta according to package directions. Drain well; keep warm.

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Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add flour and garlic; cook until garlic is browned (about 2 minutes), stirring constantly.

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Add milk and broth, stirring with a whisk; bring to a simmer, and cook 2 minutes or until thickened. Add cheese, stirring until cheese melts.

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Add remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, remaining 1/2 teaspoon pepper, and spinach; stir until spinach wilts.

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Add pasta and chicken; toss to combine.

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Top with Parmesan cheese, if desired.

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Additions:  None

Omissions:  None

Substitutions:

  • Chicken tenderloins
  • 1% lowfat milk

Overall Rating:  Love It

Source:  Cooking Light magazine

Fiery Buffalo Sauce

I think I have finally found the perfect homemade buffalo sauce!  I’ve seen on food shows that really good buffalo sauces are usually made with some kind of mixture of hot sauce and butter.  The more butter the better.  But this recipe for Fiery Buffalo Sauce only uses a little bit of butter and has a secret ingredient that just blows my mind.

Melted butter, cayenne pepper sauce (I used Frank’s Red Hot Original), and white vinegar are mixed together before adding in ranch dressing (or blue cheese dip as the recipe says, if you prefer).  That’s it.  This sauce is great with wings, nuggets or, in my opinion, anything you want to add buffalo sauce to.  Got some plain chicken breasts?  Add this sauce.  Got some boring pasta?  Add this sauce.  This is a perfectly universal buffalo sauce that will meet just about any need.  I have my leftover sauce in a container in the fridge and I’ll being using it later as a dressing for a spinach salad with chicken I plan on having.  I mean, why not?  If I could put this in my coffee, I think I would.

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The ingredients:

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In 1-quart saucepan, melt butter on medium.

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Whisk in cayenne pepper sauce and distilled white vinegar.

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Transfer to bowl; toss with cooked wings (or nuggets) and blue cheese (or ranch) dip.

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I added the ranch dressing to the hot sauce mixture before serving along side chicken nuggets.

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Additions:  None

Omissions:  None

Substitutions:

  • Frozen chicken nuggets
  • Light ranch dressing

Overall Rating:  Love It

Source:  Good Housekeeping magazine

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