Archive for April, 2007

Chicken Tagine


Tagines are flavorful Moroccan stews that are usually cooked in special clay cookware of the same name. The recipe for Chicken Tagine from Cooking Light is a delicious mixture of chicken and aromatic spices such as ginger, turmeric and paprika that does not necessarily need to be made in a tagine. The savory stew is traditionally served over couscous but you can also use rice or some other starch. If you do not have a tagine, which I do not, you can use any large non-stick skillet or pan. The only alterations I’ve made to this recipe were omitting chickpeas (a classic Moroccan ingredient) as it’s one of the few foods we dislike. The results of this dish are a light, but tasty stew that fills your home with the wonderful scents of spices. Enjoy!

Overall rating: 5 stars


Tagine of Chicken and Chickpeas

From Cooking Light
Use all chicken thighs or all chicken breasts, if you prefer. This savory tagine blends paprika, ginger, and turmeric to season the chicken and sauce.

1 teaspoon Hungarian sweet paprika
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
1 pound skinless, boneless chicken thighs (about 4)
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cups diced onion (about 2 medium)
2 cups chopped seeded plum tomato (about 3)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 (15 1/2-ounce) can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), rinsed and drained
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

Combine first 4 ingredients in a small bowl; rub spice mixture evenly over chicken. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken to pan; cook 3 minutes on each side or until lightly browned. Transfer chicken to a cutting board; cool slightly. Slice and return to pan. Add onion; sauté 3 minutes. Add tomato and salt; cover and cook 15 minutes. Add chickpeas; cover and cook 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in cilantro.

Yield: 4 servings (serving size: 1 1/2 cups)

CALORIES 363 (24% from fat); FAT 9.7g (sat 1.6g,mono 4.5g,poly 2.6g); PROTEIN 44.9g; CHOLESTEROL 123mg; CALCIUM 70mg; SODIUM 646mg; FIBER 5.9g; IRON 3.6mg; CARBOHYDRATE 23g

Cooking Light, MAY 2006


Comments (6)

Stuffed Peppers


Stuffed Peppers are definitely a comfort food for me. If you’ve read my post on Stuffed Pepper Soup (from Cooking Light), you’d know how much I love them and have grown up on them. I’ve gotten a lot of traffic to the site based on searches for Rachael Ray’s Stuffed Pepper Stoup, which she made on her show Monday so I thought I’d give the people what they are looking for. Stuffed Pepper Soup or Stuffed Peppers, I’ve got the recipe you are looking for.

My recipe for Stuffed Peppers is pretty much one that has evolved from how my mother makes them and how I’ve interpreted the recipe. She always serves them with mashed potatoes but since we are carb-conscious, the rice in the stuffing is enough for us. A nice side salad would round out this meal.

Please forgive my recipe if you find fault with it. I usually just make from memory. Enjoy!

Overall rating: 5 stars

Stuffed Peppers

4 large green peppers

1 onion, diced

3-4 garlic cloves, crushed

28 oz. can crushed tomatoes

1 pound ground meat

1 small can tomato paste

Parmesan cheese

Salt, pepper, garlic powder, dried basil

about 1 1/2 cups cooked rice

First, rinse peppers, slice in half and scoop out seeds and membranes. Let peppers cook in boiling water for about 10 minutes to soften a bit. Meanwhile, saute onion and garlic in olive oil until slightly softened and golden brown. Let cool. Cook rice. Once rice, onions, and garlic are cooled combine in bowl with ground meat. Add tomato paste, salt, pepper, garlic powder, basil (in small amounts). Drain peppers and place in baking dish. Generously stuff peppers with meat mixture. In another bowl, season crushed tomatoes with salt, pepper, garlic powder, basil. Pour over peppers. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese if desired. Bake at 350 for approximately 45 minutes.


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Bruschetta Chicken


Sorry folks for the delay in posts. You’d think with all this time on my hands having no job I’d be writing more! But my time is consumed with job hunting. (No luck so far.)

Back to the food! I found this delicious recipe for Bruschetta Chicken in one of my new cookbooks, Taste of Home: The Market Fresh Cookbook. It’s a great cookbook sorted by ingredients and this one was under the chapter for tomatoes. If you like bruschetta, then you’ll like this creative way to incorporate it into a baked chicken dish.

Alterations to this dish were using real eggs instead of substitute, using a can of diced tomatoes instead of fresh, and dried basil instead of fresh.

Overall rating: 4 stars


Bruschetta Chicken

1/2 c. flour

1/2 c. egg substitute

4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (about 1 pound)

1/4 c. grated Parmesan cheese

1/4 c. dry bread crumbs

1 T butter, melted

2 large tomatoes, seeded and chopped

3 T fresh basil

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 T olive oil

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp pepper

1. Place flour and eggs in separate shallow bowls. Dip chicken in flour, then in eggs; placed in a greased 13-in. x 9-in. x 2-in. baking dish. Combine the cheese, bread crumbs and butter; sprinkle over chicken. Loosely cover baking dish with foil. Bake at 375 for 20 minutes. Uncover; bake 5-10 minutes longer or until top is browned.

2. Meanwhile, in a bowl, combine the remaining ingredients. Spoon over the chicken. Return to the oven for 3-5 minutes or until tomato mixture is heated through. Yield: 4 servings.

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Easter Recap

Hi everyone. Sorry it’s been so long. Unfortunately, I was laid off from my job this week so I just haven’t been motivated to write. But I owe you, my readers, an Easter Recap.

Easter was held at my mother’s home this year, where it normally takes place. As usual, we had too much food. Is this an Italian thing or do all families on holidays have enough food to feed four times as many people coming? Our menu consisted of:

Appetizers: cold antipasto platter, stuffed mushrooms, onion-dill dip, stuffed artichokes, deviled eggs, skinny kielbasa (not sure of the correct term!)

Main courses: ham, lasagna, meatballs, kielbasa and saurkraut

Dessert: pineapple bake, Easter pie, poppy seed roll, nut roll, seven layer bars, various cookies

I personally contributed the stuffed mushrooms, onion-dill dip, ham and Easter Pie. The Onion-Dill dip is a recipe I received from a co-worker about 9 years ago. She had brought this very flavorful, yet simple dip into a work party. Unfortunately, I cannot remember her name to give her credit for the recipe. She had served it in a bread bowl but it can be served with just crackers and vegetables. I also made this dip light, but you don’t have to. But be forewarned, it’s very onion-y but tasty.


The next appetizer I made was stuffed mushrooms. I love stuffed mushrooms and they are super simple to make. I use the recipe from the Cucina & Famiglia: Two Italian Familes Share Their Stories, Recipes, and Traditions by the actor Stanley Tucci and family. If you choose to make this recipe, I recommend to get the most flavor, use fresh herbs and the best olive oil.


For the ham, I used Alton Brown’s City Ham recipe that includes layers of flavors: spicy brown mustard, brown sugar, bourbon (but I used whiskey), and gingersnaps. The smell alone while the ham bakes is heavenly as it wafts through your home. It creates a fabulous crust with an unique flavor.


For dessert, I made Giada De Laurentiis’ Easter Pie. This was the first time making this but it’s popular Italian Easter dessert. Well, only my mother and myself tried it! Neither of us liked it. It wasn’t horrible, just blah. It’s a ricotta cheesecake that is not too sweet with rice and orange zest among other ingredients. This recipe is the only one I do not recommend.


Overall Easter was a nice family holiday as usual, followed by a night of Mylanta shots. Enjoy the pictures and recipes!

Overall ratings:

  • Onion-Dill Dip – 4 stars
  • Stuffed Mushrooms – 5 stars
  • City Ham – 4 stars
  • Easter Pie – 1 star

Onion – Dill Dip

1/2 sweet onion diced very fine

handful of fresh dill, finely chopped

1 cup light mayo

1 cup light sour cream

Mix all four ingredients and serve!

Stuffed Mushrooms

from Cucina & Famiglia: Two Italian Familes Share Their Stories, Recipes, and Traditions

10 oz. large mushrooms

1/2 cup plus 1 T olive oil

3/4 cup plain bread crumbs or more as needed

1/2 cup pecorino Romano or Parmesean cheese

1 tsp finely chopped garlic, about 2 small cloves

2 T finely chopped fresh parsley

salt and pepper

1 T extra virgin olive oil

Preheat oven to 375. Remove stems from mushrooms and set aside. Finely chop half the mushroom stems and discard the other half (I seem to use all though). Warm 1 T of olive in small saute pan over medium heat. Add stems and cook until softened and lightly browned. In medium bowl, mix cooked stems, bread crumbs, cheese, garlic, and parsley, and season with salt and pepper. Slowly stir in 1/2 cup of olive oil. If the dough is too oily add more bread crumbs. Divide the filling between the mushroom caps. Place on baking sheet. Drizzle extra virgin olive oil over mushrooms and bake until browned but firm. About 8 minutes. Serve warm. *Note I often add the garlic to the saute pan instead and cook up with stems.

City Ham

Recipe courtesy Alton Brown

1 city style (brined) ham, hock end*
1/4 cup brown mustard
2 cups dark brown sugar
1-ounce bourbon (poured into a spritz bottle)
2 cups crushed ginger snap cookies
Heat oven to 250 degrees F.Remove ham from bag, rinse and drain thoroughly. Place ham, cut side down, in a roasting pan. Using a small paring knife or clean utility knife set to the smallest blade setting, score the ham from bottom to top, spiraling clockwise as you cut. (If you’re using a paring knife, be careful to only cut through the skin and first few layers of fat). Rotate the ham after each cut so that the scores are no more than 2-inches across. Once you’ve made it all the way around, move the knife to the other hand and repeat, spiraling counter clockwise. The aim is to create a diamond pattern all over the ham. (Don’t worry too much about precision here.)Tent the ham with heavy duty foil, insert a thermometer, and cook for 3 to 4 hours or until the internal temperature at the deepest part of the meat registers 130 degrees F.Remove and use tongs to pull away the diamonds of skin and any sheets of fat that come off with them.Heat oven to 350 degrees F.Dab dry with paper towels, then brush on a liberal coat of mustard, using either a basting brush or a clean paint brush (clean as in never-touched paint). Sprinkle on brown sugar, packing loosely as you go until the ham is coated. Spritz this layer lightly with bourbon, then loosely pack on as much of the crushed cookies as you can.Insert the thermometer (don’t use the old hole) and return to the oven (uncovered). Cook until interior temperature reaches 140 degrees F, approximately 1 hour.Let the roast rest for 1/2 hour before carving.*Cook’s note: A city ham is basically any brined ham that’s packed in a plastic bag, held in a refrigerated case and marked “ready to cook”, “partially cooked” or “ready to serve”. Better city hams are also labeled “ham in natural juices”
Easter Pie

Recipe courtesy Giada De Laurentiis

3/4 cup powdered sugar, plus extra for garnish
3 large eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 tablespoon orange zest
1 (15-ounce) container whole milk ricotta cheese
1/2 cup cooked short-grained rice
1/3 cup toasted pine nuts
6 sheets fresh phyllo sheets or frozen, thawed
3/4 stick (3 ounces) unsalted butter, melted
Blend 3/4 cup of powdered sugar, eggs, vanilla, orange zest and ricotta in a food processor until smooth. Stir in the rice and pine nuts. Set the ricotta mixture aside.Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.Lightly butter a 9-inch glass pie dish. Lay 1 phyllo sheet over the bottom and up the sides of the dish, allowing the phyllo to hang over the sides. Brush the phyllo with the melted butter. Top with a second sheet of phyllo dough, laying it in the opposite direction as the first phyllo sheet. Continue layering the remaining sheets of phyllo sheets, alternating after each layer and buttering each sheet. Spoon the ricotta mixture into the dish. Fold the overhanging phyllo dough over the top of the filling to enclose it completely. Brush completely with melted butter.Bake the pie until the phyllo is golden brown and the filling is set, about 35 minutes. Transfer the pan to a rack and cool completely. Sift powdered sugar over the pie and serve.

Comments (8)

Shrimp Scampi


Shrimp Scampi is one of those recipes I just make off the top of my head. It’s quick, easy, and tasty. If you have shrimp on hand, you are likely to have the rest of the ingredients. Butter, garlic, white wine, lemon juice, parsley. That’s pretty much all there’s to it. I served it this time with rigatoni, but I think I’d prefer spaghetti or angel hair next time. I usually don’t follow anyone’s particular recipe for this is quite easy to remember once you’ve made it a few times but to help you folks out I am including Food Network’s Tyler Florence’s recipe (one of my favs on that channel). His recipe is about as close to the one I throw together. I’ve never used shallots, always lots of garlic. Enough to make you stinky. But shallots would be a nice flavor too. Enjoy!

Overall rating: 4 stars

Shrimp Scampi with Linguini

Recipe courtesy Tyler Florence

1 pound linguini
4 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
2 shallots, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
Pinch red pepper flakes, optional
1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup dry white wine
Juice of 1 lemon
1/4 cup finely chopped parsley leaves
For the pasta, put a large pot of water on the stove to boil. When it has come to the boil, add a couple of tablespoons of salt and the linguini. Stir to make sure the pasta separates; cover. When the water returns to a boil, cook for about 6 to 8 minutes or until the pasta is not quite done. Drain the pasta.Meanwhile, in a large skillet, melt 2 tablespoons butter in 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium-high heat. Saute the shallots, garlic, and red pepper flakes (if using) until the shallots are translucent, about 3 to 4 minutes. Season the shrimp with salt and pepper; add them to the pan and cook until they have turned pink, about 2 to 3 minutes. Remove the shrimp from the pan; set aside and keep warm. Add wine and lemon juice and bring to a boil. Add 2 tablespoons butter and 2 tablespoons oil. When the butter has melted, return the shrimp to the pan along with the parsley and cooked pasta. Stir well and season with salt and pepper. Drizzle over a bit more olive oil and serve immediately.

Episode#: FO1E09
Copyright © 2006 Television Food Network, G.P., All Rights Reserved

Comments (5)