Saturday, October 31, 2009

Grilled Chicken Cacciatore

A nice cool fall day, so I decide to make Chicken Cacciatore while watching football. What do you mean it hit 80 degrees and now my wife wants to grill out. Now what? You improvise and make grilled Chicken Cacciatore, turned out to be very good.

Grilled Chicken Caccitaore

2 chicken breasts
1 red pepper, cut into 1 inch chunks
1/2 pint cherry tomatoes, cut in half
4 oz mushrooms, cut in 1/2 or 1/4 depending on size
1 Small Onion, cut into chunks
1 tbs plus 1 tsp Olive Oil
1 tbs Italian Seasoning, I used marjoram, oregano, and thyme plus a pinch of red pepper flakes
Rice or pasta to put the chicken on.

Preheat the grill.

Place all of the cut up vegetables in a bowl then add the tbs of olive oil and Italian Seasoning. Toss the vegetables to coat with oil and herbs. Set them aside.

Sprinkle the tsp of oil over the chicken breasts and salt and pepper them.

Now put everything on the grill, I kept the chicken separate from the veggies. Grill until they reach the desired tenderness.

To serve put the rice or pasta on the plate, then the chicken and vegetables.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Lemon and Garlic Shrimp

Can you tell who got a really good deal on shrimp a couple of weeks ago?

This is a healthy version of Shrimp Scampi, that I adapted from EatingWell magazine.

Lemon Garlic Shrimp

2 tsp olive oil
3 cloves of garlic, minced
2 tsp lemon zest
1/2 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/2 cup reduced sodium chicken broth
1/2 tsp cornstarch
1 tbs lemon juice
1 tbs fresh parsley, chopped

Heat the olive oil in a large nonstick skillet. Add the garlic and lemon zest, stirring until fragrant. Then add the shrimp and let cook for 1 1/2 to 2 minutes. While shrimp is cooking add cornstarch to chicken broth and whisk until smooth. Add the mixture to the shrimp. Cook until mixture has thickened and shrimp have turned pink, about 1 1/2 to 2 minutes. Remove pan from heat and add the lemon juice and parsley. Serve shrimp and sauce over angel hair pasta.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Roasted Pork Tenderloin

I remember talking to a guy in an Italian cooking class who told me his mom used to make tenderloin stuffed with prosciutto and parmesan cheese. I decided to try and recreate this dish, only making it a little healthier. I switched to pork tenderloin and cut the amount of parmesan in 1/2. I should have left the cheese with the original amount as 1/4 cup for pound tenderloin was not enough, in fact it seemed to disappear completely. When it was time to add the prosciutto, I was out, so I substituted thin slices of ham. Pork Tenderloins usually come 2 to a package, I just used one of these as it was enough for my wife and I. I served roasted veggies with this so I tossed potatoes, carrots, mushrooms, onion and garlic cloves with salt, pepper and olive oil and spread out on the bottom of the roasting pan.

Roast Pork Tenderloin

1 pork tenderloin, around 1 pound, butterflied so it opens flat
1/2 cup o parmesan cheese, grated
2-3 slices of prosciutto, to cover the butterflied pork tenderloin
1 tbs olive oil
1 tbs Italian dried herb mixture (if you don't have mix basil, oregano, marjoram, hot pepper flakes)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Take the butterflied tenderloin and lay the pieces of prosciutto on it. Then cover the prosciutto with the grated parmesan cheese. Roll this up tightly, I didn't tie this but you could. Rub the olive oil over the tenderloin and then cover with the dried herbs. I laid the the tenderloin on top of the vegetables I was roasting. Cover the pan with aluminum foil and put it in the oven. Uncover the pan after 20 minutes. Roast for 15 to 20 minutes until tenderloin is at desired doneness.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Spicy Shrimp and Rice

Ever have one of those Saturdays when you look up and see it is time for dinner and you haven't even thought about it yet? I just started grabbing left over ingredients until I was happy with the combination.

Spicy Shrimp and Rice

2 tbs olive oil
2 tbs onions, diced
1/4 cup yellow peppers, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
16 shrimp, I used 21-30
1 14.5 oz can of diced tomatoes
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/4 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp marjoram
1 cup rice, cooked

Heat a saute pan over medium heat. Add the olive oil, then add the onions and peppers. Heat until the onions and peppers are soft. Add the garlic and cook until it gets fragrant. Then add the shrimp. Cook for a minute or 2 then add the tomatoes and spices. While the tomatoes are heating up put the rice in a serving dish. When the shrimp and tomatoes are done remove from heat and pour them on the rice.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Tuscan Shrimp with White Beans

This recipe is based on a recipe from Michael Chiarello. It is really good, really simple and really fast. Just have all of the ingredients out and ready to go before you start cooking. I would suggest some good crusty bread with this.

Tuscan Shrimp with White Beans

3 cups canned Cannellini Beans
1/4 cup plus 2 tbs extra virgin olive oil (I cut back on this a little bit)
16 large shrimp, peeled and deveined
3 cloves of garlic peeled and sliced
1/2 tsp chili flakes
1 cup diced tomatoes, canned or fresh, peeled and seeded
1/2 cup whole, fresh basil leaves
1 tbs lemon juices
salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
2 tbs Italian flat-leaf parsley, chopped
Extra Virgin Olive Oil for drizzling

Drain the white beans and put them in a skillet. (Michael says to save the liquid you drained form the beans and add just enough back to the beans to moisten them. Because this liquid is high in sodium, I added a couple of tablespoons of water.) Add 2 tbs of the olive oil and bring beans to a low simmer. Keep them warm while you prepare the shrimp.

Heat 1/4 cup olive oil in a large skillet over high heat. Add the shrimp, cook for 2 minutes, tossing frequently. Remove the shrimp and set aside. Add the garlic to the pan and saute until the garlic browns. Add the chili flakes and cook for 1 minute. Add the tomato and the basil and stir briefly, then add the lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper. Cook for 1 minute and then add the shrimp back to the pan. Toss well and cook briefly to reheat the shrimp. Remove the shrimp.

Spoon the white beans on platter or individual plates. Drizzle them with the best olive oil you have, and then top with the shrimp. Serve warm.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Poached Pears

2 Pears and a 1/2 bottle of wine what do you do? Raise the ante and hope to draw a full house? No poach the pears, and you'll have a sure winner.

Poached Pears

2 Pears, peeled but leave the stem in
1 cup wine, I used a Zinfandel Shiraz blend
1/4 to 1/2 cup sugar, depending on how sweet you want it
1 cinnamon stick
4 cloves

Put everything in a saucepan that is small enough that the pears will be submerged. If you don't have a pan that will let the pears be submerged then don't worry, just rotate the pears every few minutes to keep the color uniform as they absorb the wine.

While the wine is heating up peel the pears. You can cut a slice off from the bottom so they will stand up without wobbling. If you want to speed things up a little here take a melon baller and scoop out the core of the pear a little. I did not do this and it took about 45 minutes for them to get soft and then the center was still a little hard. By scooping them I think they will soften faster. If you scoop the insides I would serve the pear standing up on the plate instead of fanned like the one in my pictures. The pears in the pictures are still connected at the stem end.

After the pears are soft remove them from the liquid, but let the liquid keep simmering. Let it simmer until it becomes a syrup. Watch this part closely once it becomes syrup it will burn shortly after that. Drizzle the syrup around the plate and/or over the pears. Simple but very good!

Saturday, October 3, 2009


Italian meatballs, polpette, are often eaten with spaghetti as every American knows. Unfortunately, no one ever told the Italians this. In Italy meatballs are typically eaten as the main course or in soup. The last time I made meatballs was probably at least 10 years ago. I am sure I went to Betty Crocker I made the standard meatball made with hamburger and Worcestershire sauce. My recipe today is a concoction I made up as I went along, not authentic but a lot closer than the Betty Crocker version.


2 Italian sausages, about 1/2 pound, I used Turkey casings removed and sausage broken up
1/2 pound ground beef, I used a 93% fat free
1 tbs Italian herbs, I used Basil, Oregano, Marjoram and a pinch red pepper flakes
1/4 cup bread crumbs
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, finely grated
2 tsp olive oil

Mix all of the ingredients, except the olive oil, in a medium size bowl. Be careful not to over mix this, you don't want tough meatballs. After it is thoroughly mixed together take a measuring spoon and measure out an equal amount of meat and roll into little balls. I used a 2 teaspoon measuring spoon. This made 27 meatballs, which was good as it gave me one to test for doneness and taste. Add the olive oil to a frying pan heated to medium. Then add the meatballs, browning them on all sides. This will only take a few minutes with meatballs this size. I then put them in my quick and easy tomato sauce and let them simmer until the pasta was finished cooking. I started the pasta water when I started making the meatballs.