Toffee Almond Shortbread Cookies

Toffee Almond Shortbread

Toffee Almond Shortbread

Shortbread is a traditional teatime cookie, native to Scotland, but loved by everyone.  You know when you have a fine one because they snap crisply,  the butter flavor is intense, and they melt in your mouth.  There’s no need for any extra ingredients, the bare minimum is what these cookies are all about, letting you experience that wonderful butter flavor.

IMG_6961

Ordinarily I don’t add anything to a shortbread cookie, but this recipe calls for finely diced toasted almonds, and toffee bits that have been crushed sightly.  The toffee is not readily apparent when the cookie is baked,  but it does intensify the butter flavor, and the almonds just add a little texture to an otherwise smooth dough. To finish them off I sprinkled the tops with multicolored pink-green sanding sugar.

IMG_6967

By using a cookie cutter that is no more than 2-inches, you will get about 30 cookies.  My square cutter is 1 1/2-inches and I got 37 cookies.  They are small bites, just right for a light finish to a meal, to put on a dessert table, or to go with a cup of tea or coffee.

TOFFEE ALMOND SHORTBREAD COOKIESIMG_6958

Yield:   about 30 cookies

Ingredients:

  • 1  1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup, (1 stick) butter
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped toasted almonds
  • 2 tablespoons toffee pieces, slightly crushed  I used Heath Toffee Bits.
  • pink and green coarse decorating sugar

Directions:

1.  Preheat the oven to 325*F.  Baking sheets may be lined with parchment paper, or use un-greased.

2.  Combine flour and brown sugar in a bowl.  Cut in the butter with a pastry cutter, or rub the butter with your fingertips until the mixture looks like fine crumbs, and starts to cling together.

3.  Stir in the almonds and toffee bits.

4.  Bring the mixture together into a ball ( with your hands is best), and gently knead until smooth.

5.  Turn out onto a floured surface, roll out to about 1/4-inch thick. Using your cookie cutter, stamp out as many as are possible.  Gather the trimmings, roll out again, and press out more cookies.  Repeat until all the dough has been used.

Roll out to 1/4-inch thickness, cut with cookie cutters.

Roll out to 1/4-inch thickness, cut with cookie cutters.

 

Transfer to parchment lined  baking sheet.

Transfer to parchment lined baking sheet and sprinkle with sugar.

6.  Put the shortbread on the prepared baking sheets, sprinkle with decorating sugar, and bake for 10 – 12 minutes until bottoms are starting to brown and the edges are firm.  Transfer to cooling racks to cool completely.  Store in an airtight container at room temperature.

IMG_6961

Intensely butter flavored, they melt in your mouth.

Intensely butter flavored, they melt in your mouth.

SOURCE:  Better Homes and Gardens

 

Advertisements

Oven-Fried Tilapia with Warm Spinach Salad

Oven Fried Tilapia

Oven Fried Tilapia

Fish of some sort is on the menu at least once a week around here, sometimes more often than that.  During the Lenten period especially, fish and seafood is attractively priced at the supermarket, so that is another reason why we have it more often.  One fish that we particularly like and is very easy to cook is tilapia.  It is mild flavored and can be enhanced by a variety of sauces or cooking methods.

This recipe is called oven fried, although there is no frying involved.  I think the meaning is that it will appear to be fried and have a nice crisp, crusty coating on it.  This is achieved by using panko crumbs and toasting them before dredging the tilapia with the seasoned crumbs.  The fish is tender and flaky inside the crust.

I usually serve this fish with rice or noodles and a salad. This time, however, I served it with my potato-fennel hash and a warm spinach salad that I think goes very well with this dish.  Nutritionally speaking this is a very low fat, potentially low carbohydrate (depending what you serve with it), and low calorie meal.

Potato-fennel hash.

Potato-fennel hash.

Warm Spinach Salad

Warm Spinach Salad

OVEN-FRIED TILAPIA

Yield:   4 servings

Ingredients:IMG_6997

  • 1 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried sage
  • 1/4 teaspoon celery seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 4 tilapia fillets
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • cooking spray
  • lemon wedges for serving

Directions:

1.  Preheat oven to 400*F.  Spray a baking dish with cooking spray.

2.  Place panko and next four ingredients (through pepper) in a large skillet;  cook over medium heat 3 minutes or until toasted, stirring frequently.

3.  Place panko mixture in a shallow dish.   Combine 2 Tbsp. water and egg in a shallow dish.  Place flour in another shallow dish.

4.  Season fish fillets by sprinkling with the salt.  Dredge fish in flour; dip in egg mixture, then place fish in panko mixture, turning to coat.

5.  Arrange in the prepared baking dish.  Bake at 400*F for 15 minutes or until it flakes easily and is done.  Serve with lemon wedges.

WARM SPINACH SALADIMG_7009

  • 6 cups baby spinach
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 tsp. minced garlic
  • 1/2 cup grape tomatoes, halved
  • 2 Tbsp. cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. salt

1.  Place the spinach leaves in a large bowl.

2.  Heat a small skillet over medium heat.  Add the olive oil and swirl to coat.  Add the minced garlic and grape tomatoes; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly . Add the cider vinegar, honey, black pepper and salt, stirring with a whisk.

Sauté tomatoes in oil and seasonings.

Sauté tomatoes in oil and seasonings.

3.  Pour vinegar mixture over spinach and toss to coat.  Serve while warm.

IMG_7013

 

SOURCE:    Cook Yourself  Thin

 

 

 

How to Make Potatoes Anna

Potatoes Anna

Potatoes Anna

I wonder who Anna was.  Her name has become associated with this potato dish that, I think, most of us assume is something quite fancy.  Well think again, it may look fancy when served, but it’s not fancy to make.  Do you love thinly sliced potatoes cooked till brown and crispy?  Well that’s what this dish is all about.  You can make it with all one kind of potato or use a variety of potatoes.  In the version that I made recently I used a white baking potato (russet) and a large sweet potato to provide some color contrast, and increase the nutritional value of the dish.  You could also use Yukon Gold potatoes, or red-skin potatoes.

In my experience with making this dish, it is best to peel the potatoes so you get nice crispy, browned edges, but of course you can certainly leave the potatoes unpeeled if that is your preference.

The key to the success of this dish is to cut the potatoes in even slices.  One tool that I like to use is a mandoline slicer.  It makes quick work of cutting vegetables into thin even slices.  I find it easier to clean and use than my large processor for slicing jobs like this.

Using a mandoline slicer gives you even slices.

Using a mandoline slicer gives you even slices.

Since this post is a “how to” tutorial I am going to give tips on making Potatoes Anna first, followed by the recipe itself.

1.  Once the potatoes have been sliced, begin the layering.  Use a heavy, oven-proof skillet.  I like to use my wrought-iron frying pan for this job as it distributes heat evenly and the bottom layer gets nice and brown.  If you don’t have a wrought-iron pan any oven-proof pan will do.

2.  Choose the prettiest slices for your first layer of potatoes, as those will be on top when you invert the potato cake.  Layer in a spiral fashion.

Arrange in a circular pattern in a heavy skillet.

Arrange in a circular pattern in a heavy skillet.

3.  Brush with melted butter.  As you assemble alternating layers of white potatoes and sweet potatoes, brush each with melted butter for added richness.

Brush each layer with butter and season well.

Brush each layer with butter and season well.

4.  Season generously.  Root vegetables can take a lot of salt, so don’t be stingy.  Add salt and pepper to each layer so every forkful is evenly seasoned.

5.  Add the final layers.  You should have 4 to 5 layers when you’re done.  Plenty of butter and a non-stick pan make the result very easy to turn out onto a serving plate.**

Hot and crispy, just out of the oven.

Hot and crispy, just out of the oven.

**Unfortunately I didn’t take my own advice.  When I made this dish I made a smaller amount for 2-3 servings, and instead of using a smaller skillet, I used the 10″ one, so I had fewer layers of potatoes.  When I tried to turn it out onto a serving plate it broke, so my photos do not do justice to how attractive the finished dish really is.  But, it tasted wonderful just the same.

Not enough layers to cut it into wedges, but delicious just the same!!

Not enough layers to cut it into wedges, but delicious just the same!!

YUKON GOLD AND SWEET POTATOES ANNA

Yield:   Makes 6 servings

Ingredients:

  • 3 – 4 medium, peeled Russet or Yukon Gold potatoes
  • 2 medium, peeled sweet potatoes
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions:

1.  Preheat oven to 425*F.  Cut potatoes and sweet potatoes into 1/8-inch thick slices with a handheld slicer or sharp knife keeping potato varieties separate.

Melt butter and slice potatoes evenly.

Melt butter and slice potatoes evenly.

2.  Brush an ovenproof 10-inch non-stick skillet with butter.  Starting in center of pan, arrange about 20 slices of white potato slices, slightly overlapping, in a circular pattern, covering the whole bottom surface.  Brush with butter and season generously with salt and pepper.

3.  Make another layer with sweet potato slices; brush with butter and season.  Repeat, alternating white and sweet potato layers.  Drizzle any remaining butter on top of potatoes.

4.  Place skillet over medium-high heat and cook until butter vigorously bubbles in pan, about 4 minutes.  Transfer to oven and bake 30 minutes.  Tent loosely with foil and continue to bake until potatoes are easily pierced with a knife, about 20 minutes more.  Remove from oven.  Run a small rubber spatula around edges of potatoes to loosen.  Carefully invert onto a plate and cut into wedges to serve.

Potatoes Anna

Potatoes Anna

SOURCE:   Martha Stewart.com

Macaroon Cookies

Chocolate Pistachio Macaroons

Chocolate Pistachio Macaroons

During my time in college I roomed with a gal who was Jewish.  We became close friends and continued rooming together throughout our four years.  This resulted in many visits to her home, and time spent with her parents and sisters.  As a result I felt that I became one of the family, learning about Jewish Holidays and food traditions.  I have participated in the Seder meal for Passover and become acquainted with the traditional foods that are eaten during this time and the need for unleavened breads and baked goods.

IMG_6987

One of the popular desserts served at this meal is macaroon cookies.  I have a strong affinity for these cookies, and I always stop to admire them whenever I pass a Jewish Deli or bakery.  Jewish baking has tremendous significance, and the ingredients and shapes are directly tied to specific holidays when they are prepared.  For Passover, observant Jews eat unleavened foods to commemorate their ancestors’ hurried departure from Egypt.  These macaroons are flourless and get their texture from egg whites, making them the ideal cookie for the holiday.IMG_6992

The basic macaroon, while certainly enjoyable without anything added, can be “dressed up” with additions and minor changes to its shape.  What I’ve included here are several ways to embellish these sweet, delectable cookies if you should choose to do so.  They are very easy to make, and I’m sure you will enjoy them with or without the extras.  The cookies pictured in my photos are the chocolate pistachio variety.

COCONUT MACAROONSIMG_6988

Yield:  Makes about 30 macaroons

Ingredients:

  • 3 large egg whites
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 (14-ounce) package shredded, sweetened coconut

Directions:

1.  Preheat the oven to 325*F.  and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  In a large bowl, whisk the egg whites till foamy, add the sugar, salt and vanilla mixing well.  Fold in the coconut.

2.  Scoop heaping tablespoons of the coconut mixture about 1-inch apart onto the baking sheet.  Using your fingers (dampened) to form into pyramids.

Use your fingers to form into pyramid shapes.

Use your fingers to form into pyramid shapes.

Bake until golden brown around the edges, 20 – 25 minutes.  Let cool 10 minutes on the baking sheet, then transfer to a rack to cool completely.

Golden brown around the edges when fully baked.

Golden brown around the edges when fully baked.

Variations:

1.  Chocolate Pistachio:  Substitute 1/4 tsp. almond extract for the vanilla and stir in 1/2 cup chopped dried cherries before adding the coconut.  Bake as directed and cool.   Melt some semisweet chocolate chips in the microwave until smooth.  Dip the tops of the macaroons into the chocolate, sprinkle with chopped pistachios and chill until set.

Dipping the tops into melted chocolate and sprinkling with pistachios.

Dipping the tops into melted chocolate and sprinkling with pistachios.

2.  Cocoa-Cinnamon:  Whisk 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder, 2 teaspoons cinnamon and 1 teaspoon grated orange zest into the egg white mixture before adding the coconut.

3.  Run-Raisin:  Stir 1/4 cup dark rum and 1/3 cup raisins into the egg white mixture before adding the coconut.

4.  Raspberry Thumbprints:  Scoop the macaroon mixture onto the baking sheet; bake 10 minutes.  Make an indentation in each cookie using the back of a teaspoon, or a cork;  fill with 1/4 tsp. raspberry jam, then continue baking until golden brown around the edges, 10 to 15 minutes more.

SOURCE:  FOOD NETWORK MAGAZINE

IMG_6982

IMG_6991

Black Bottom Coconut Bars

 

Black Bottom Coconut Bars

Black Bottom Coconut Bars

The name of these bars sounds like a dance right out of the “roaring 20’s”.  But, no, we are going to bake and eat them.  Oh, Yum!

IMG_6913

Coconut and chocolate is a flavor combination I particularly love, and recently I’ve had a craving for coconut. It’s been so bad that I over-bought coconut; would you believe in my pantry there are three bags of shredded, two bags of flakes, and a container of “chips”. Not to mention a large package of “bite-size” Mounds bars!!    What was I thinking?

If there’s one thing I’ve learned it’s that when a craving strikes the best thing to do is give in to it.  So I baked these bars.  A friend’s birthday was my reason for baking, but at the same time I reasoned, I could have 1-2 bars to “taste”, and hopefully that would be the end to my craving.  We’ll just see how that works out…..

IMG_6909

These bars are moist chewy brownies on the bottom, with a wonderfully, gooey, coconut-y mixture on top, and that layer is topped with more coconut that I toasted and sprinkled over all.   Let me tell you, it’s a good thing I gave most of these away or I could have eaten them all myself.   They are incredibly good.  I’m thinking they would make a perfect dessert for Easter. 😀

IMG_6915

If you like brownies and you like coconut, you really need to try these seriously addictive bars.

BLACK BOTTOM COCONUT BARS

Yield:   16 – 24 bars

Ingredients:

For the brownie layer:

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powderIMG_0261
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour

For the coconut layer:

  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon coconut extract
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 7 ounces sweetened, shredded coconut,  reserve 1/2 cup for sprinkling on top

Instructions:

1.  Preheat oven to 375*F.   Line a 9-inch square baking pan with parchment paper or foil, leaving an overhang.  Spray bottom and sides of paper lining.

2.  Toast the reserved 1/2 cup coconut by spreading on a baking sheet and baking for about 5 – 7 minutes.  Watch carefully that it doesn’t get too dark.  Stir twice during baking time.  Remove and set aside for later.

3.  Make brownie layer:  using a microwave-safe bowl, melt butter in microwave.  Whisk in sugar and salt.  Whisk in egg, then cocoa powder and flour.  Mix until smooth.  Spread evenly in prepared pan.

4.  Bake for 10-15 minutes.  The sides should be starting to pull away from the pan. Don’t over bake.  Set aside while you make the topping.

5.  Make coconut layer:  Whisk eggs with sugar and coconut extract.

IMG_0262

Mix in flour and coconut.  Drop mounds of topping onto chocolate base.  Spread and press into base with moistened fingers.  Sprinkle with the toasted coconut.

IMG_0264

6.  Bake 25 – 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with moist crumbs attached.  Cool completely in pan.  Then remove from pan using the overhang.  Peel back paper or foil, and cut into bars.  Store in an airtight container for 3 -4  days.

IMG_6908

IMG_6912

IMG_6914

Don’t wait.   Go. Now. Make these bars.

 

SOURCE:  Adapted from Martha Stewart

 

 

 

Huskies Rock!!

How about those Huskies, people??  Husky fever, Husky mania.   It’s crazy around here!  Men’s and women’s teams, both champions in the same year.  The last time this happened was in 2004, and now again.  Excitement is running high as you can well imagine, and I wanted to share some of mine with all of you.

I am an alumna of the Univ. of  Ct. and I join in with all other alumni and fans to congratulate these super teams on their achievements.  Way to Go!  Bring on the parties, parades and celebrations.

Tuna Melts with Horseradish Mayonnaise

Tuna Melt with Horseradish Mayonnaise

Tuna Melt with Horseradish Mayonnaise

Let me introduce you to one of my very favorite sandwiches.  It’s high time you met.  You see, I’ve been making and enjoying this sandwich for quite some time now, but for  some reason I never took photos of it.  Bad lighting, too hungry (usually), cheese too melty, not attractive.  Oh, and I never wrote down the ingredients before.  I just make it on the fly.

This week I became determined to share it with you.  Even though it seems like a pretty ordinary, everyone-must-know-how-to-make-this, kind of sandwich, I figured that if we love it made this way, you just might like it too.  This particular combo of tuna fish, crunchy celery and scallions, and a tangy mayo-mustard-horseradish dressing on rye toast is mouthwateringly good.  It makes a great lunch, and can become a full meal when paired with a hot bowl of soup.  If you’ve never added some of these flavors to tuna fish salad, try it.  You may be surprised at how good it is.

IMG_6955

TUNA MELTS WITH HORSERADISH MAYONNAISE

Yield:   Serves 4

Ingredients:IMG_6956

  • 6 tablespoons mayonnaise, divided
  • 2  5-ounce cans solid white tuna, drained
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped celery
  • 2 scallions, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley, or 1 Tbsp. dried
  • 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
  • kosher salt and  black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon whole-grain mustard
  • 1 tablespoon prepared horseradish
  • 4 large slices rye bread, lightly toasted
  • 8 thin slices havarti cheese
  • 8 slices of tomato
  • dill pickles, for serving, (optional)

Directions:

1.  Position a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat to 475*F.

2.  Combine 4 Tbsp. mayonnaise, the tuna, celery, scallions, parsley, and vinegar in a large bowl and mix well.  Season with salt and pepper.

3.  Combine the remaining 2 Tbsp. mayonnaise with the mustard and horseradish in a small bowl;  spread on the bread slices and arrange on a baking sheet.  Mound the tuna mixture on top and pat it into an even layer.  Top each with 1 cheese slice, tearing it as needed to cover the tuna mixture.

4.  Season the tomato slices with salt;  Place 2 slices on top of each sandwich, then top each with another slice of cheese.  Bake until the cheese melts, 5 to 7 minutes.  Serve with dill pickles.

IMG_6954

 

SOURCE:   Carolyn’s Originals

 

 

Candied Orange and Golden Raisin Scones

Candied Orange and Golden Raisin Scones

Candied Orange and Golden Raisin Scones

As I’m sure you know by now I really love scones. I’ve never eaten a scone I didn’t like, but if they include dried fruits or ginger that scone and I will be friends for life. So this particular recipe had me at “candied orange” and when you add golden raisins and then soak all that in orange liqueur overnight before baking, then let me tell you these are the best scones imaginable.

IMG_6599

They become crisp and golden with a light, flaky interior. The fruit offers a slightly chewy contrast. Orange zest and Grand Marnier, or any orange flavor liqueur, flavor the scones. Slather them with butter and enjoy with a cup of coffee or tea for breakfast. But really they could be dessert. The other aspect of this recipe that got me was the total yield is around 15 or 16 scones. So you can bake once, and freeze half of them to enjoy at a later date. These scones keep for 2-3 days in an air-tight container at room temperature.

Flaky and tender inside.

Flaky and tender inside.

CANDIED ORANGE AND GOLDEN RAISIN SCONES

Yield: about 16 2-inch round scones

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup diced candied orange peel
  • 1/2 cup golden raisins
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated orange zestIMG_6578
  • 1/4 cup Grand Marnier or other orange-flavored liqueur
  • 2 cups cake flour (not self-rising), sifted
  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour, plus more for rolling
  • 1 stick cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • coarse salt
  • 1 cup cold heavy cream
  • 1 large whole egg plus 1 large egg, separated
  • fine sanding sugar, for sprinkling

Directions:

1. Stir together candied orange peel, raisins, orange zest and liqueur in a small bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 day.

2. Preheat oven to 350*F. Whisk flours together in a large bowl. Transfer half to a processor and add butter. Pulse to cut in butter (the largest pieces should be the size of small peas.) Add granulated sugar, baking powder, and 1 teaspoon salt to remaining flour in bowl; whisk to combine. With pastry blender or your fingertips, work in the flour-butter mixture until mixture resembles coarse meal.

3. Whisk together cream, whole egg, and egg yolk. Make a well in the center of flour mixture, and pour in half of cream mixture. Draw dry ingredients over wet ingredients with a rubber spatula, scraping bottom of bowl to incorporate all dry crumbs. Add remaining cream mixture, and gently mix just until incorporated–do not overwork dough.

4. Turn out dough onto a lightly floured work surface, and press dough into a 6-by-9-inch rectangle. Sprinkle dried fruit mixture evenly over dough. With a short side facing you, fold rectangle into thirds, as you would a letter. Rotate dough a quarter-turn clockwise. Roll out dough to a 6-by-9-inch rectangle, folding and rotating once more.

5. Pat dough into a 1 1/4-inch-thick rectangle with floured hands, and cut out as many rounds as possible with a floured 2-inch round biscuit cutter. Gather scraps, reroll once, and cut out more rounds ( you should have a total of 16).

Note: In order to avoid rerolling scraps and cutting twice, I rolled my dough out to approximately 6-inch-by-10-inch rectangle, then with a sharp knife cut out 2″ squares, getting a total of 15.

IMG_6580

6. Place scones 2 inches apart on parchment-lined baking sheets. Lightly beat egg white and brush tops; sprinkle with sanding sugar. Bake until golden brown, about 25 minutes, rotating sheets halfway through. Let cool on sheets. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Fresh from the oven and smelling delicious.

Fresh from the oven and smelling delicious.

IMG_6596

IMG_6589

SOURCE: Martha Stewart Living

Chicken Cacciatore

Chicken Cacciatore with Polenta

Chicken Cacciatore with Polenta

I love this meal served over polenta or pasta but I make it rather infrequently because it takes quite a bit of time to make.  Especially when you slow cook it the way I usually do. This past weekend I decided to try this recipe that is prepared using a slow-cooker.  By using boneless chicken thighs, the chicken doesn’t need all day to become falling apart tender.  A cooking time of 4 – 5 hours is perfect.

IMG_0273

Starting around noon, I browned the chicken as the recipe directs, made the sauce and put it all in the slow cooker and in about 4 hours it had reached saucy perfection, and the aroma in my kitchen was wonderful.  I continued with the “quick” approach and made instant polenta to serve the cacciatore over.  That  along with an inventive green salad and a glass of wine was a perfect ending to a busy weekend.

IMG_0275

When I make polenta I usually use Bob’s Red Mill Whole Grain Polenta which takes about 30 minutes to cook, and requires constant attention and stirring.  This time I opted for  Scalafani Instant Polenta, that cooks in only 3 minutes.  You still need to stir it constantly, but for a much shorter time.

IMG_0267

Hint:  when making polenta always use a long handled spoon ( wooden is best) for stirring, because as it thickens it will “pop” as it boils and can burn your hands. (Ask me how I know.)

CHICKEN CACCIATOREIMG_6903

Yield:   Serves 8

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 8 skinless, boneless chicken thighs (about 2 pounds)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 large red bell pepper, chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup dry red or white wine
  • 1/2 cup tomato puree ( 1 6-ounce can tomato paste)IMG_6906
  • 2 tablespoons capers
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons crushed red pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can unsalted petite diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

Directions:

1.  Place flour in a shallow dish; dredge chicken in flour, shaking off excess.

2.  Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add oil; swirl to coat pan.  Add half of chicken; cook 4 minutes on each side or until browned.

Browning the chicken.

Browning the chicken.

Place chicken in a 6-quart electric slow cooker.  Repeat procedure with remaining chicken.  Reduce heat to medium.

3.  Add a drizzle more oil if necessary.  Add onion, bell pepper, and garlic, sauté 4 minutes.

Saute onions, pepper and garlic.

Saute onions, pepper and garlic.

Add wine and tomato puree, stirring to blend ingredients.

Add puree and wine.

Add puree and wine.

Bring to a simmer, adding diced tomatoes, capers, salt , peppers, and oregano.

Add tomatoes and seasonings.

Add tomatoes and seasonings.

Heat through.  Add to slow cooker, pouring over chicken.

4.  Cover and cook on LOW for 4 hours or until chicken is tender.  Sprinkle with parsley.

Slow-cooker chicken cacciatore.

Slow-cooker chicken cacciatore.

.Serve it over polenta or pasta.

Serve it over polenta or pasta.

IMG_0278

 

If you have leftovers, they can be easily transformed into soup:  Shred the chicken, and place in a pot with sauce.  Add unsalted chicken stock, diced zucchini, and diced carrots;  simmer until veggies are tender. Add in any leftover pasta at the end.  Serve with a little grated cheese on top.      One meal becomes two.  YUM!

SOURCE:   Cooking Light

 

Cauliflower Fritters

Cauliflower Fritters

Cauliflower Fritters

If it looks like a potato pancake and it tastes like a potato pancake, it must be a potato pancake, right?   Wrong!!  These are cauliflower fritters, and they are delicious.  Similar to the taste of a potato pancake, they make a fabulous side dish–we loved them!

IMG_6939

As a continuation of my posts about cauliflower, I have this one for you.   Another way to use this versatile vegetable and reap it’s health benefits in a fun way.

You can use either a bag of frozen cauliflower, or cook up some fresh cauliflower, mash, then mix with hash brown potatoes, cheese, onions, whole wheat flour and eggs.  Use just enough oil to sauté them in a fry pan, and you will have crispy fritters.  I made a dipping sauce to go with them that enhanced their presentation and flavor.  I find it amazing how versatile cauliflower is and how it can mimic potatoes or rice.  It makes a great stand-in for either of them with far fewer calories and carbohydrates.

CAULIFLOWER FRITTERS

Yield:  Makes 8 – 10 fritters

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium head cauliflower, or 1 (10-oz.) package frozen cauliflower
  • 1/2 cup onion, chopped in small diceIMG_6933
  • 2 tablespoons whole wheat flour
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 3/4 cup shredded hash brown potatoes, thawed if frozen
  • 1/2 cup shredded white cheddar cheese
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil

For the dipping sauce:

  • 1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt (0%, or 2% fat is okay)
  • 2 tablespoons minced green onions
  • 2 tablespoons canola mayonnaise
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 – 2 dashes hot sauce, optional

Directions:

1.  Prepare cauliflower as package directs if frozen, or bring to a boil and cook until tender if using fresh.

2.  Place cauliflower in a large bowl and mash with a potato masher.  Stir in onion, flour, garlic, salt, pepper, lemon zest, potatoes, cheese and eggs.  Mix to combine well.

IMG_6934

IMG_6935

3.  Form into 8 – 10 patties.  I used a large spoon, and dropped lumps of batter into the skillet, then flattened them slightly with a spatula. Using this method, I got 10 fritters.

IMG_6936

4.  Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.  Add oil and swirl to coat.  Cook patties 4 minutes on each side or until nicely browned.  Repeat with remaining batter.

5.  Make dipping sauce:  Combine yogurt, 1/8 tsp. salt, and remaining ingredients.  Serve sauce with fritters.

IMG_6940

 

IMG_6942

SOURCE:  adapted from Skinny Taste