Tuesday, February 14, 2012

My Very Favorite Asparagus Vinaigrette

1 TBSP balsamic vinegar
1 1/2 TBSP fresh lemon juice
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 small clove garlic, finely minced
1/2 cup fruity olive oil
1 plum tomato, seeded and diced
salt and pepper to taste
2 pounds of asparagus, trimmed
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

1. For the vinaigrette, whisk the vinegar, lemon juice, and mustard together in a small bowl.  Add the garlic.  Gradually whisk in the olive oil, then stir in the diced tomato.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Let mellow at room temperature at least 30 minutes.

2.  Blanch, stem or microwave the asparagus just until crisp-tender, 3-5 minutes.  Arrange the hot asparagus on a serving platter and pour the vinaigrette over all.  Sprinkle with the Parmesan cheese.  Let sit at least 10 minutes before serving.  The asparagus may be served warm or at room temperature.  Makes 6-8 servings

Recipe from:  Cold Weather Cooking, Sarah Leah Chase

Comments:  I love this vinaigrette!  As I dream about spring and affordable asparagus, I look forward to making this more often than the occasional special occasions I prepare it through the winter months.  Someone always wants this recipe when I serve this dish. Note: I use what I have in the pantry; that often means lemon juice in a bottle, chopped garlic in a jar and no Dijon mustard. However, when this is prepared exactly as written, it is at its best!    Enjoy!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Buffalo Chicken with Blue Cheese Fondue

Chicken Tenders, cut in half ( I used 3 packages)
olive oil or cooking spray
Buffalo Wing Sauce ( I use Frank's)
2 cups carrot sticks
2 cups celery sticks
2 cups red or orange bell pepper strips
12 ounces of French bread, cut into 1 inch squares

2 cups crumbled blue cheese
1 TBLSP cornstarch
1 cup dry white wine
2/3 cup 1% mild
1 block of fat-free or low-fat cream cheese, softened

Chicken can  be prepared in oven on cooking sheet coated with cooking spray.  Brush with wing sauce and bake for 5 minutes at 400 degrees.  Turn over and brush with more wing sauce, and bake an additional 5 minutes or until done.   OR: Put one TBLSP olive oil in non-stick frying pan and pan fry chicken until done, add wing sauce. 

Cup up all dippers and set aside.

To prepare the fondue, combine the blue cheese and the cornstarch in a large saucepan or electric fondue pot.  Stir in wine, milk, and cream cheese.  Bring to a boil over medium heat; cook for 1 minute stirring constantly.  Reduce heat to medium-low; cook 8 minutes or until mixture is smooth, stirring frequently. Transfer to fondue pot and keep warm over low flame.  Serve with dippers.

Recipe from myrecipes.com

Comments:  I made this for the Super Bowl this year and it was a huge hit!  It is a nice way to get that wing flavor without the calories and fat from true chicken wings. It went together very quickly. I pan fried the chicken in order to not turn the oven on and to get a bit of color on the chicken.  I will definitely make this again.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Broccoli/Chicken Quiche

1 box of chopped broccoli, cooked and drained
1 can of chicken
8 oz. mozzarella cheese
2-3 eggs
3 TBSP milk
1 onion, chopped
salt/pepper to taste
1 deep dish pie crust

Mix ingredients together and put in pie crust.  Bake 400degrees for 30-40 minutes.

Comments:  This recipe came from a dear friend of the family, Pam.  My family has been making it for at least 25 years.  Wow, time sure flies!  This is one of my go-to quiches.  It is especially good for those who do not like a very eggy quiche.  It is dense and hearty, making it a good choice for lunch or dinner with a salad.  I am not sure why, but sometimes the quiche filling seems thick, so I simply add the 3rd egg to loosen it up a bit. It bakes perfectly well with only 2 eggs, so you decide.  I know it seems odd to use a can of  chicken, but it is good and makes the quiche go together quickly.  I have also used fresh broccoli cooked and chopped as well as left over chicken breast, diced. Enjoy!  

Monday, February 6, 2012

Sloppy Joes

1 lb. ground beef, browned
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup Catsup
1 TBSP brown sugar
1 TBSP prepared mustard
1 TBSP Worcestershire Sauce
1 TBSP Vinegar
1 tsp salt

Cover. Simmer about 1/2 hour.

Comments:  My mother-in-law, Henrietta, gave me this recipe many years ago and it is one that I still make regularly.  I adjust the brown sugar a bit as I like it a bit sweeter, but it is great just the way it is.  This recipe is quick, easy and flavorful.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Chocolate-Chip Oatmeal Scones

1 cup all-purpose flour
3 TBSP brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/3 cup real butter, softened a little
1 cup oatmeal
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 beaten large egg
1/4 cup milk

In a bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and cinnamon.  Cut in butter with a pastry utensil or two butter knives side by side until resembles coarse crumbs.  Stir in oat and chocolate chips.  Combine egg and 1/3 cup milk; add to flour mixture.  Stir just until moistened (dough will be a little sticky).

On a lightly floured surface, pat dough into a 7 inch circle.  Cut into 6 large or 12 small wedges.  Place on a baking sheet.  Brush with milk if desired.  Bake in a 400 degree oven for 10-12 minutes until light brown.

Comments:  This recipe came from the most dedicated, creative and fun piano teacher our family ever had, her name is Linda.  Her recitals always had a theme, a play like "script",  often included costumes, always had prizes, and ended with a treat!  These scones were offered after a "tea" themed recital and have become a favorite go-to scone for many Sunday mornings since. They mix up quickly and are ready just as quickly.  Chocolate in the morning, who could ask for more!