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Posts Tagged ‘Main Course’

Chicken Alfredo Lasagna

Friday, April 16th, 2010

I love lasagna, but my husband was a little hesitant when I suggested this recipe.  He has since decided this is one of his favorite lasagna recipes.

The original recipe called for fresh lasagna noodles and bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts, but I used store bought noodles and boneless skinless chicken.  I cooked the noodles according to the package instructions, and I had enough noodles and filling for an 8×11 pan of lasagna.

Chicken, Mushroom, and Spinach Alfredo Lasagna (adapted from The Way the Cookie Crumbles)

1 tsp vegetable oil

1 lb chicken breasts

4 tbsp unsalted butter

8 oz button mushrooms, thinly sliced

2 large shallots, finely chopped

6 cloves garlic, minced

1/4 c flour

3 1/2 c milk

black pepper


1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg

4 oz spinach, sliced into 1/4 in ribbons

1 1/2 c grated Parmesan cheese

1 package lasagna noodles (regular, not “no boil noodles”)

Picture 013Heat the oven to 450 degrees.  Heat a small oven safe skillet over medium heat. (I used a Dutch oven).  Add the oil and chicken breasts.  Cook the chicken for 5 minutes on one side until browned, about 5 minutes.  Turn the chicken over, and move the pan to the oven.  Roast the chicken in the oven until an instant read thermometer reads 160 degrees.  (Since I used boneless, skinless chicken breasts, I also added a cup of chicken broth to the pan before placing it in the oven.)  Remove the chicken from the oven, and once the chicken has cooled, shred the chicken with your fingers or two forks.

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Decrease the oven temperature to 375 degrees.

Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat.  Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring often, until the mushrooms are slightly browned, about 7 minutes.  Add the shallots and cook for another 3 minutes.  Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

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Add the flour and stir frequently with a wooden spoon.  Cook for about a minute, until slightly thickened.

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Whisking constantly, add the milk slowly, and continue to to cook for about 7 minutes.  The sauce should thicken slightly.  Add salt, pepper, the  nutmeg, spinach and half of the Parmesan cheese.  Cook for about 3 minutes and add the chicken.  Remove from heat and adjust seasoning to taste.

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Spray an 8×11 baking pan with nonstick spray.  Spread 1/4 cup of the sauce on the bottom of the dish.  Try to avoid large chunks of chicken.  Top with a layer of noodles (I used 3 noodles).  Continue to alternate sauce and noodles until you run out of noodles.  I was able to make five layers.  Top with the remaining sauce and the Parmesan cheese.

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Cover the pan with aluminum foil and bake for 20 minutes.  Remove the foil and continue to bake for another 20 minutes.

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We ate this with a nice salad.  Enjoy!


Chicken Enchiladas

Sunday, January 31st, 2010

My husband and I keep a grocery list on our refrigerator, and a couple of weeks ago, I came home to the words “chicken enchiladas” on the list.  I took that as a hint.

The following recipe is adapted from The Best Cover and Bake Recipes from the Editors of Cooks’ Illustrated.

1 TBSP canola oil

1 medium onion, diced

4 garlic cloves, minced

3 TBSP chili powder

2 tsp ground coriander

2 tsp ground cumin

2 tsp sugar

4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs

15 oz tomato sauce (I used 8 oz. fire roasted tomato sauce and 8 oz. Mexican style tomato sauce)

3/4 c. water

1/2 c. cilantro leaves, chopped

12 oz. shredded sharp cheddar cheese

10 6 inch corn tortillas

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Heat the oil in a heavy skillet over medium heat.  Add the onion and cook until golden.  This should take about 6 minutes.  Add the garlic, chili powder, coriander, cumin, salt and sugar.  Cook until fragrant, about 45 seconds.

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Add the chicken, and stir until the chicken is coated with the spices.

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Add the tomato sauce and water.  Bring to a simmer and reduce the heat to low.  Continue to simmer and stir until the chicken is cooked through, about 10 minutes.

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Separate the chicken and the sauce.  To do this, I drained the chicken mixture over a bowl to collect all of the tomato sauce.  Allow the chicken to cool.  (The recipe called for freezing the chicken mixture on a plate for 10 minutes, but I just left the chicken in the refrigerator for about 45 minutes while I started another recipe for the week.)

Once the chicken has cooled, mix with the jalapenos, and 8 oz. of the shredded cheese.

Heat the oven to 300 degrees.

Spray both sides of each tortilla with cooking spray, and place the tortillas in a single layer on a baking sheet.   Bake for about 4 minutes, until the tortillas are soft.

Cover the bottom of a baking dish with the tomato chili sauce.  Spread 1/3 cup of the chicken mixture in a tortilla.  Roll the tortilla and place it, seam side down, in the baking dish.  Repeat with the remaining tortillas.  Cover with the remaining sauce and cheese.

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Increase the heat in the oven to 400 degrees.  Cover the baking dish with foil and bake for 25 minutes.

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I served this with rice and beans.


Spinach Stuffed Chicken Breasts

Tuesday, January 5th, 2010

My parents went to Canyon Ranch, a spa in upstate New York, in May, and they have been raving about the food and their Canyon Ranch cookbook since their visit.  I got a copy of the book in October and have slowly started experimenting with some of the recipes.

Nourish, the Canyon Ranch cookbook, focuses on healthy eating, and the recipes are very easy to follow.  This past weekend, I tried Spinach-Stuffe Chicken with Artichoke Caper Sauce.

For the chicken:

6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

6 oz. package spinach leaves

2/3 c. crumbled feta

1 TBSP olive oil

1 c. chicken broth

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  In a heavy skillet, saute the spinach over medium heat, until wilted.  Set the spinach aside to cool.

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Place a chicken breast on a cutting board covered with plastic wrap.  Cover the chicken with another piece of plastic wrap and pound with a meat mallet until the chicken is 1/4 inch thick.

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Stuff the chicken breasts with 1/6th of the wilted spinach and 2 TBSP of the feta.  Roll the chicken breasts up and secure with kitchen twine or cooking bands.

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Heat 1 TBSP olive oil in a heavy skillet.  Sear the chicken breasts in the pan, cooking for about 2 minutes per side.  Transfer to a baking dish and add the chicken broth to the pan.  Bake at 400 degrees for 40 minutes, or until a thermometer reaches 165 degrees.  I started checking the temperature after 25 minutes.

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While the chicken is in the oven, make the sauce.  If you can find artichoke hearts packed in water, use those.  For some reason, I can only find artichoke hearts packed in brine, so if that’s all that you can find, make sure you rinse the artichokes well.  I ran mine under cold water for about 5 minutes.

For the artichoke caper sauce:

12 oz. canned artichoke hearts

1 TBSP olive oil

4 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 c. capers

1 c. chicken broth

juice of one lemon

1 TBSP unsalted butter

Chop the artichoke hearts into small pieces.

Heat the olive oil in a skillet.  Add the artichoke hearts, garlic, and capers.  Cook for three minutes.

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Add the chicken broth and lemon juice and cook for an additional 5 minutes.  Add the butter to thicken the sauce slightly.

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The chicken breasts I used were very large, so I cut the chicken breasts in half to serve them.   Once the chicken is ready, top with the sauce and serve.  I served this with orzo and a salad.

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Monday, January 4th, 2010

So, we got a pizza stone as a wedding present, and I finally got a chance to use it this weekend.  After talking to my dad and my uncle, I was very intimidated about using the pizza stone (my dad reminded me about our failures at making pizza when I was younger), but I was prett proud of my results.

First of all, I wanted to make my own dough, but I was having problems getting the yeast to foam up properly.  So, I ran to Whole Foods to get some premade dough.  It worked pretty well.

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I used one ball of dough to make two pizzas. Place pizza stone in oven, heat to 500 degrees for 30 minutes..

While the oven is heating,  knead and roll the dough out.  I used the following toppings:

Adapted from Pizza by Pamela Sheldon Jones

1/4 lb. shrimp, chopped

3 TBSP pesto (I used store bought pesto, since I happened to have some around)

3 sun dried tomatoes, chopped

1 roasted red pepper, sliced

1/4 c. grated Parmesan cheese

Mix all ingredients in a bowl.  Spread the mixture over one of the pizza rounds.

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Adapted from The Dean and DeLuca Cookbook

3 TBSP diced tomatoes with juice

8 slices mozzarella

5 torn basil leaves

1/4 c. grated Parmesan cheese

Spread tomato sauce over the pizza round.  Cover with the mozzarella cheese.

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Bake for 7 minutes.

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Top with basil and Parmesan.

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Our favorite was definitely the shrimp pesto pizza.  We have a ton of other recipes to try, so stay tuned for more pizza recipes (hopefully with a more successful attempt at making my own dough.


Christmas Dinner Feast with Friends

Saturday, December 26th, 2009

This Christmas was a year of firsts:  the first Christmas my husband and I spent as husband and wife, the first year in the past ten years that we weren’t traveling for Christmas, and the first year I tried my hand at cooking Christmas dinner.  So, to celebrate being at home, we invited a few friends for dinner, opened a few bottles of wine, and enjoyed quite the feast.

Christmas 2009 Menu

Shrimp Cakes with Remoulade Sauce

Crown Roast of Pork with Onion and Bread-Crumb Stuffing

Potatoes Au Gratin

Green Beans with Frizzled Shallots and nuts

Crown Roast of Pork with Onion and Bread-Crumb Stuffing (adapted from Gourmet, December 2005)

A word of warning before making this recipe:  be sure to special order your crown roast from the butcher a few weeks before you plan to make it.  I made the mistake of waiting until the last minute to plan my Christmas menu and almost had to scrap my menu entirely due to poor planning on my part.  Thanks to the fine folks at Whole Foods of Boulder (Pearl Street) for obliging my Christmas Eve request to have crown roast.  They made our meal!

For Stuffing:

3 large yellow onions, finely chopped

2 1/2 tsp. salt

2 sticks unsalted butter

2 TBSP chopped fresh sage

1 TBSP chopped fresh marjoram

1 tsp. black pepper

1 1/2 TBSP cider vinegar

1/2 c. dry white wine

1 lb. country loaf, cut into 1 in. cubes and then pulsed to crumbs in food processor (I used a little more than half of a 1.9 lb. Italian Country Boule from Whole Foods)

3/4 lbs. ground pork

1 c. finely chopped celery

Melt butter in a large, heavy skillet.  Add the onions and 1 1/2 tsp. salt.  Cook over medium heat, covered, until tender.  This should take about 10 minutes.  Remove the cover and continue to cook until the onions are golden, again about 10 minutes.  Add the sage, marjoram, and pepper, and cook for an additional 5 minutes.  Add the vinegar and wine and cook until the liquid is evaporated.  Reserve one cup of the onion mixture for the sauce.

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In another large, heavy skillet, melt the other stick of butter.  Add the breadcrumbs and remaining salt.  Cook the breadcrumbs over medium-low heat until the breadcrumbs are golden brown and starting to crisp.  This should take about 20 minutes.

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Combine the onion mixture (except for the one cup reserved for the sauce), the celery, the breadcrumbs, and the ground pork in a large bowl.  Coat a 2 qt. baking dish with cooking spray.  Reserve 2 1/2 cups of the stuffing for the pork, and transfer the remaining stuffing to the baking dish.  Place the baking dish in the refrigerator until ready to bake.

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For Roast:

1 tsp. finely chopped fresh sage

1 tsp. finely chopped fresh marjoram

2 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. black pepper

1 10 lb. crown roast of pork

2 c. water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Place the oven rack in the bottom 3rd of the oven.

Mix the sage, marjoram, salt, and pepper in a small bowl and rub the mixture on the outside of the roast.

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Place the roast in a roasting pan.  Mound the reserved stuffing in the center.  Add the water to the pan.

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Roast in the oven for 30 minutes.  After 30 minutes, cover the stuffing and the tips of the bones with tin foil.  Continue to roast for another two hours, until a digital thermometer reads 155 degrees.

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With 30 minutes of cooking time left, add the stuffing to the oven, and bake, covered with foil, for the last half hour.  Remove the roast from the oven and let stand for 30 minutes.  Increase the oven temperature to 425 degrees, and cook the stuffing for an additional 15 minutes, until the top is crisp.

For Sauce:

1 c. dry white wine

3 c. chicken broth

2 tsp. cornstarch dissolved in 2 TBSP water

2 TBSP cold unsalted butter

While the stuffing is cooking, remove the roast from the pan.  Place the roasting pan, with all juices, on the stove over medium heat.  Add the wine and stir to scrape up any browned bits.

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Continue to cook until reduced by half.  Add the onion mixture and broth and simmer.  Add the cornstarch/water mixture and stir until incorporated.  Add the butter to the pan and season with salt and pepper.

I served the pork with the stuffing, green beans, and au gratin potatoes.

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Beef Burgundy (Boeuf Bourguignon)

Tuesday, December 8th, 2009

As soon as it gets cold, the first dish I want to make is Beef Burgundy.  I first made this dish for New Year’s Eve and have even enjoyed “the real thing” while visiting Burgundy with my dad in the middle of summer.  To me, though, this dish is supremely satisfying as the weather gets colder.

This recipe is a little time-consuming, especially for the first half hour or so, but I tried to simplify it by using the same Dutch oven to brown the bacon, brown the beef, cook the vegetables, and to start braising the beef.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Soup and Stew

6 strips bacon, cut into 1/2 inch pieces

3 1/2 lbs beef stew meat, seasoned with salt and pepper

1 TBSP Olive Oil

2 yellow onions, diced

3 carrots, peeled and diced

3 TBSP all-purpose flour

1/4 c. brandy

1 bottle red wine (I used Bordeaux)

1 1/2 c. beef stock

1 TBSP tomato paste

6 cloves garlic

1 bay leaf

3 TBSP butter

1 lb. white button mushrooms, quartered

1 package pearl onions (I use fresh, but you could also use frozen.  If you use frozen, skip the blanching step)

1 TBSP cornstarch, mixed with 2 TBSP water

Parsley to garnish

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a Dutch oven over medium heat, brown the bacon.  Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon and transfer to  paper towels.

Brown about 1/2 of the beef in the bacon grease.    Brown the meat on all sides, about 5 minutes.  Transfer the beef to a bowl, and brown the rest of the meat.

Once you’ve browned the beef, add the olive oil to the Dutch oven.  Saute the onions and carrots until lightly browned.  Reduce the heat to low.  Add the flour and stir until the flour is thoroughly incorporated.  Return the bacon and the beef to the pot.

Remove from the heat, add the cognac, return to the heat for about 20 seconds, and using a long kitchen match, flambe.  Hold the lit match just above the contents of the pot until it ignites.  The flame should burn for about 30 seconds, but keep the lid of the Dutch oven close by, in case the flame does not go out after a minute.

Once the flame is out, return the pot to medium heat and add the wine, stock, tomato paste, garlic, bay leaf.  Bring to a simmer.  Once simmering, transfer the pot to the oven, and braise for about 2 hours.  Cook until the meat is tender and the stew thickens.  I usually check the beef every 30 minutes to see how tender it is and to stir the stew.

During the last 45 minutes while the stew is cooking, bring a pot of water to a boil.  Add the pearl onions and cook for 5 minutes.  Drain the onions and rinse in cold water.  Remove the skins.

Melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in medium frying pan.  Add the mushrooms and saute for 5 to 7 minutes until browned.  Transfer the mushrooms to a bowl.  Melt the remaining butter and add the pearl onions.  Cook, stirring occasionally for 7 minutes.  Add 1/2 cup of water, cover the onions, and cook for 5 more minutes.

Once the stew meat is tender, remove from the oven, and stir in the mushrooms and pearl onions.  At this point, I return the stew to the stove and thicken, if the meat becomes tender before the stew thickens to my liking.  There are two ways to do this:  I usually just use a mixture of cornstarch and water.  If, however, you’re looking for decadence, mix 1 TBSP of butter with 1 TBSP of flour.  Divide the mixture into small pieces and add slowly to the stew.  Garnish with parsley and you’re ready to go!

I usually serve this with mashed potatoes or au gratin potatoes.