Archive for category Main Courses
Now that the weather is getting a bit chilly – it’s time for COMFORT FOOD!! I recently tweaked this recipe from Cooking Light magazine for chicken pot pie. It was way, way better than the chicken pot pies of my childhood (sorry Swanson’s). I was impressed with how easy it was and the way it filled my kitchen with the aromas of chicken and Herbs de Provence. It’s become a fall staple in the Vino household. In fact, one recent rainy day I was craving something warm and comforting and couldn’t decide between the pot pie or a loaded baked potato. Voila, the Chicken Pot Potato was born. Recipes below – thanks to everyone who asked me to post them. Enjoy.
CHICKEN POT PIE
(Adapted from Cooking Light)
Serve with Morovino 2011 Cabernet Franc
1 T Canola oil
1 large onion, chopped
3 carrots, chopped
2 ribs of celery, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 c. all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 C chicken stock (unsalted, low fat)
2 C shredded chicken *SEE NOTE
1 package refrigerator biscuits (like Pillsbury) or your own biscuit dough
1 c. frozen peas
2 heaping teaspoons of Herbs de Provence (read the label and make sure it includes lavender – that’s what makes the dish)
2 large russet potatos, baked (for Pot Potato)
Preheat the oven to 425. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium high heat. Add onion, carrot and celery and saute 4 minutes or until softened. Add the garlic and saute an additional 1 minute. Sprinkle the veggies in the saucepan with the 1/4 C of flour, the salt and pepper. Stir constantly for about a minute. Add the 4 cups of broth and bring everything to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer for 8 minutes, stirring occasionially until the sauce thickens. Add chicken, Herbs de Provence and peas, simmer for 5 minutes until peas are warmed. You won’t believe how good your kitchen smells at this point. (Note: time elapsed is about 18 minutes – 23 if you include chopping time. Mrs. Vino thinks the popular belief is that comfort food is complicated and takes a long time to prepare – not so!)
For Pot Pie – Pour filling into a 2 QT baking dish. Top with the refrigerator biscuits (you don’t have to use all of them – any biscuits that don’t fit on top can be baked on a piece of foil beside the baking dish). Biscuits should just touch each other. Put baking dish in the oven and bake for 25-30 minutes or until the biscuits are golden brown on top. Serve with a nice green salad and a glass of Cabernet Franc for the perfect comfort meal.
For Chicken Pot Potato – take the baked russet potatoes and split them in half lengthwise. Then split them in half again. Put two potato quarters on each plate and spoon a heaping helping of the pot pie filling on top. Top with a dollop of Greek Yogurt and a sprinkle of green onions. Add a side salad and a glass of Cabernet Franc. Serves 4.
A NOTE ABOUT THE CHICKEN: You can use any cooked chicken for this recipe – rotisserie chicken from your grocery store, left over chicken breasts. I usually use poached boneless skinless chicken breasts for this. I usually poach the breasts the night before (for the most juicy and delicious result). And I usually double this recipe – cuz chopped poached chicken breasts freeze beautifully. They are great to have in your freezer for . . . emergency chicken pot pies.
BONUS RECIPE: Poached Chicken Breasts – in a large saucepan, place 1C chicken broth, 1/2 C. wine, 1 smashed garlic clove, some pepper and a bay leaf. Add 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (thawed). Bring to a simmer over medium low heat. Simmer (don’t boil – it makes the chicken tough) for about 30 minutes (or until internal temperature is about 165 degrees). Pull the saucepan off the heat and let the chicken cool in the broth. If you do this the night before, just cover the saucepan and put it in the fridge overnight. Prior to serving/cooking – take the breasts out of the broth and shred or cube the meat. Beautiful juicy chicken every time!
I came up with this recipe on a very foggy day in June when I was craving Split Pea Soup, but didn’t have all the usual onions/parsley/garlic/celery I usually use. I decided to give the soup a whirl with what I had in my kitchen. The real difference here is using a smoked pork shank instead of the more typical ham hock. The soup is less fatty, less salty and the meat that’s returned to the cooker is tender and just adds another layer of flavor.
EASY SPLIT PEA SOUP
1 16-ounce bag split peas, rinsed and sorted
1 2-lb smoked pork shank (less fatty than a ham hock)
2 large carrots, diced
6 cups low fat chicken broth
¼ t. salt
¼ t. ground black pepper
1 bay leaf
Put it all the ingredients in a slow cooker (at least a 4.5 quarts). Cover and cook on high for 6 hours (or until you get home from work). Remove the pork shank and bay leaf from the cooker. Pull the meat off the shank and dice. Check the seasonings and add more salt and pepper if needed. Return the meat to the cooker. Ladle it into bowls and serve with French bread and a glass of Collaboration. THAT’S IT, it’s just that easy. PS, I can’t wait to try this with the new Cabernet Franc.
This is for my sister Kelly who visited and wanted this recipe. Had it again last night and realized I never sent it to you – sorry, Kel! I forgot to take a picture of this before I ate it (it was really good), so I’ll take another one soon and add to post.
10 MINUTE MICROWAVE RICOTTA
2 c. low fat milk
1/2 c. non fat Greek Yogurt
Juice of 1 lemon (or 2T Cider Vinegar)
Zest of Said Lemon
1/4 t. salt
Lemon Pepper to taste (optional)
It’s always easier if you zest the lemon first, then juice. So zest the lemon with your microplane grater (If you don’t have on this is the best food tool ever) and set the zest aside. Juice the lemon and set aside. Take a strainer and line it with a double layer of cheesecloth. OK, now you are ready (time elapsed 4 minutes) Put the milk and the Greek Yogurt in a 4 cup microwave safe measuring cup. Strain the lemon juice into the milk/yogurt mixture (pulp is OK, but you don’t want seeds in there). Give 1 quick stir with a fork to break up the yogurt. Put the measuring cup and milk mixture in the microwave and microwave on high for 4 minutes. Remove the the milk mixture and give it a couple of more stirs with a fork to break up the big clumps of Ricotta. Carefully pour the mixture into the cheesecloth lined strainer and let sit for 5 minutes. After 5, bundle up the ends of the cheesecloth and give the mixture a bit of a squeeze to squeeze out some of the extra moisture. Put the ricotta in a small bowl and mix in the lemon zest and salt with a fork. Add Lemon Pepper if you are using it. Refrigerate ricotta til you are ready to use it.
SO, HOW TO USE IT: My favorite 10 minute dinner is to boil up some Orzo pasta, then toss it in a bowl with some olive oil, salad shrimp, lemon pepper, diced green onions and halved cherry tomato. Top the plates with a couple of heaping spoonsful of fresh Ricotta – easy, light and delicious. Or, it’s great on top of a salad, or double the batch and use it to fill pasta shells. . . the list is endless.
OPTION 2: If you make the ricotta with the lemon juice then add the zest. Add sugar instead of salt and some diced up raisins. Then use it to fill the center of a poached pear and drizzle the whole thing with honey and top with some roasted slivered almonds. Oh yeah, that’s good too.
I recently invested in a cool new kitchen tool – a rice cooker. I’ve been making rice for decades, and I consider myself a good cook, but rice is usually hit-and-miss with me. As we eat a fair amount of rice, it seemed like a good investment. As it turns out, the rice cooker does a lot more than cook rice. In fact, I played with my rice cooker for two weeks before I actually tried to cook rice in it!
One of the things that my rice cooker does REALLY WELL is Quinoa. I love Quinoa – it’s healthy, it’s got nice texture, a great nutty flavor and you can do sooooo much with it. When I cook it on the stovetop, it frequenly comes out gummy. However, in the rice cooker (use the white rice setting) it turns out fluffy and light and perfect. The only downside to making Quinoa in my rice cooker is that you need to make at least 2 cups. That is lots of Quinoa. So here’s a great recipe to use up some of your leftover cold Quinoa. This salad is healthy and delicious.
CHICKEN AND QUINOA SPINACH SALAD
1/2 bag of prewashed spinach (or get 1 bunch and wash it really, really well)
1 pear, cored and sliced
1/4 c. dried cranberries
1/4 c. crumbled bleu cheese
1 c. prepared Quinoa, chilled
4 green onions, sliced lengthwise, then crosswise in 1/2″ pieces.
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (steamed in your rice cooker)
2 T olive oil
1 T cider vinegar
1 T Orange juice
1 small dollop of honey (let’s call it 1/2 t.)
Another great use for the rice cooker is steaming - one of my new fave easy meals is to make brown basmati rice in the bottom of the rice cooker while simultaneously steaming salmon filets in Teriyaki sauce in the steamer basket. Wow. More on that later.
Back to this recipe – let’s steam the chicken. Put water, 1 garlic clove and 2 bay leaves in the bottom pot of your rice cooker. Then put the steamer tray in the top. Put the boneless skinless chicken breasts in the steamer tray, sprinkle them with salt and pepper and steam for 18-20 minutes (or however long your rice cooker booklet says). Prewashed spinach is one of those amazing cheats that I don’t feel at all bad about using. Toss the Spinach, Quinoa, bleu cheese, pear slices, green onions and cranberries together in a large bowl. Whisk together the dressing ingredients. Toss the dressing with the salad greens. Put 1/2 the salad on each of 2 dinner plantes. Top each salad with one of the sliced cooked chicken breasts. Sprinkle with a bit more of the crumbled bleu cheese. Yum-o-licious.
Just one of my many, many new obsessions. I love whole grain mustard, but it’s soooooooo expensive. Who’d have thought it was this easy to make. NOTE: for those of us who live on the Central Coast and really don’t have a good gourmet food store, you can get yellow mustard seeds at New Frontiers and brown and black mustard seeds at Amazon.com. Go for bulk sizes – those little tiny spice jars are waaaayyyyy too expensive. Sometimes garden stores will have mustard seeds as they are used for ground cover to keep land from eroding. Make sure the seeds haven’t been treated.
A recipe for easy, easy mustard crusted salmon follows, too.
Make your own YUMMY Whole Grain Mustard:
4 T. Mustard Seeds *
1/3 c. Cider Vinegar **
½ teaspoon each salt and sugar***
Put the mustard seeds in a pint mason jar or big coffee cup. Cover them with the 1/3 c. of vinegar – make sure that the seeds are completely covered- then cover with the cup with Saranwrap or put the lid on the jar. Let the seeds soak on your counter for up to 5 days. Top up the vinegar as needed. The mustard gets spicier the longer the seeds soak – I ‘m a 3-day girl–that’s about all the “spicy” I can handle. Pour off any remaining vinegar and reserve. Using your blender, immersion blender or mini chopper, grind the mustard seeds to your desired level of graininess. Traditionally this is done in a mortar and pestle. You can still do it that way if it floats your boat – but I love technology in the kitchen. Stir in ½ t salt and ½ t sugar. Use a little of the reserved vinegar to thin the mustard as desired. Refrigerate the finished mustard to stop it from getting stronger. The mustard is VERY sharp once you finish grinding it up. It needs to settle for a couple of days in the fridge before you use it.
* The yellow seeds are tangy. The brown seeds are spicy. The black seeds are hot. My favorite blend is 2T yellow and 1 T each of brown and black.
**You can use white wine, red wine or beer instead of vinegar. When you get to the blending stage, add vinegar to taste.
***You can use honey or any other sweetener instead of sugar.
My last batch was Stout and Molasses which I was awesome on mustard glazed salmon (recipe follows).
MUSTARD GLAZED SALMON
Serve with Morovino Barbera
4 6-ounce pieces of salmon or steelhead filet, skin on
1/4 cup whole grain mustard
1 T olive oil
1 minced green onion
Salt and Pepper
Set up your oven racks – one rack should be 2nd notch from the bottom and the other should be 2nd notch from the top. Preheat your oven to 400. Take out your rimmed baking sheet and line it with foil. Place the salmon filets on the foil, skin side down. Salt and pepper the fish. Stir the mustard, olive oil and green onion (OK, you could use chives, but I ALWAYS have green onion and I NEVER have chives) together in a little glass bowl. Place 1 big spoonful of mustard on top of each filet and spread it around. Put the baking sheet in the oven on the bottom rack and roast for 6-8 minutes, depending on how thick your filet is. After 6-8 minutes, switch your oven from bake to broil. Let the broiler heat, and move your baking sheet to the top rack until the mustard gets brown and crusty – about 3 more minutes.
FLASH FROM MRS.VINO: Mix 1/4 c. Panko bread crumbs and 2T grated parmesan together, then sprinkle on top of the mustard crusted salmon just before your broil it – it makes an amazingly crunchy crust that really enhances this dish.
Pull the baking sheet out of the oven. Using a spatula, remove the fish from the skin. Somehow, miraculously, the skin sticks to the foil and the fish comes right off – it’s kind of scary how easy it is.
Serve with crusty bread or baby potatoes and your favorite veggie. Delicious and very easy.
We’ve made so very many great friends in the past year or two. We love sharing our passion for food and wine with you. This recipe was inspired by our friends Carlton and JoEllen who gifted us with a most amazing piece of smoked salmon. Thanks, Joey & Carlton!
Lox and Cream Cheese Risotto
Make with Morovino Pinot Grigio/Serve with Morovino Barbera
1 c. Arborio rice
3 c. low fat chicken broth
1T olive oil
1/2 c. Pinot Grigio or other dry white wine
1/2 red onion, finely chopped
4 ounces delicious smoked salmon from Joey & Carlton – or equivalent
1/4 c. reduced fat cream cheese
zest of 1 lime
I like to make Risotto in my non-stick sautese (saute pan with tall sides). It just seems to cook better in there. Put the chicken broth in a 4 cup pyrex measuring cup and heat in the microwave for 3 minutes (or put it in a small saucepan and heat it on the stove on low until it is warm). Heat the oil over medium heat until it starts to shimmer. Add the diced onion (reserve 2 T for garnish) and saute for 4 or 5 minutes until translucent (not browned). Add the Arborio rice and saute for another 2 – 3 minutes until the rice turns opaque. Coincidentally most standard ladles hold 1/2 cup. This comes in very handy when making Risotto as you add the warm broth and wine 1/2 cup at a time. SO, using your ladle, add 1/2 c. Pinot Grigio to the rice and onion. Stir until the wine is absorbed. Then add the broth 1/2 cup (one ladle full) at a time, letting each ladle full absorb before you add the next. It should take you about 25 minutes to add all the broth – if it takes less than that, your heat is turned up too high.
When you get to your last ladle full of broth, add it to the pan. Add the 1/4 cup cream cheese and the lime zest at the same time to finish the risotto. Let the broth absorb and cheese melt for 3-4 minutes. Taste a couple of grains of the rice – they should be al dente – not hard or chewy but still have a bit of texture to them.
While the risotto is finishing, dice the salmon. Put the risotto in 2 pretty bowls. Top each bowl with half the salmon, then 1 T of capers, 1T of red onion. Yes, it’s a large serving of risotto, but it’s relatively healthy and oh, so delicious.
Risotto is my ultimate 30 minute comfort food. And it serves as an amazing canvas for . . . . any flavor. Making it is a minor skill that is totally worth mastering.
Serve with Pinot Grigio
12 green onions, grilled (barbecue, Foreman Grill or under broiler) and chopped
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh Meyer lemon juice (1 large lemon)
2 teaspoons finely chopped Meyer lemon zest (1 large lemon)
Salt and freshly ground pepper
2 cloves garlic
1 pound soft goat cheese
Grill green onions on your barbecue, Foreman Grill, under your broiler, or on your stove top grill pan. You want the onions soft, and just starting to carmelize (char) a bit. Chop the green onions and place the onions, oil, lemon juice, and zest in a food processor. Process til smooth. Add the goat cheese and garlic and process until combined and smooth.
But now, what do you do with it??? Use it as a dip with cubes of French bread. Toss it with hot pasta, then top with sliced green onions Or, Mrs. Vino’s absolute FAVORITE: use 1/3 cup of it instead of parmesan cheese to finish a risotto. OMG, you can’t believe how good that is. Amp it up a notch by topping the Risotto with shrimp and diced heirloom tomato.
Serve with Morovino dry Pinot Grigio or Barbera.
Super easy and super delicious. Also a great multi tasker. You can use fresh roasted pumpkin, but I actually like the texture better when you use canned!
2 T. Tahini (sesame seed paste-find it in the Asian Food Isle)
2 T. fresh lemon juice
1 t. ground cumin
1 t. olive oil
3/4 t. salt or to taste
1/8 teaspoon Cayenne pepper
1 15-ounce can pumpkin (NOT pie filling)
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
2 T. fresh parsley, chopped
Add these ingredients (except Parsley) to your food processor and whirl around until smooth. Then add parsley and pulse a couple of times to incorporate. I put this in a pretty fall bowl and sprinkle toasted pumpkin seeds on top of it. If you bought the roasted pumpkin seed oil for the Stilton and Pear Bruscetta, drizzle a bit on the top of this, too. Serve with Pita chips.
I usually double this recipe! It’s Second Chance Cuisine option is to use it to finish a risotto. Just make your risotto as you normally do (recipes on this site). Then, instead of finishing with parmesan cheese, just before serving the risotto, add the 1/4 c. of pumpkin hummus and stir until incorporated. Top the risotto with toasted pumpkin seeds.
This dish has a Third Chance Cuisine Option, too. Use your favorite premade cheese ravioli and use the pumpkin hummus as a sauce. Just heat the hummus in a saucepan with a little milk or chicken broth to thin it. Add a little fresh or dried sage for extra credit. It’s kind of like an inside-out pumpkin ravioli. De. Lish. Us.
This dish is so easy and delicious that Mrs. Vino realized she was preparing it once a week for an 8 week period. It’s great for busy evenings and I do it for holidays as it is virtually impossible to overcook the salmon when preparing it this way.
Make and serve with Pinot Grigio – any of them!
1 filet of salmon (about 2 lbs), skin on or off, your choice
½ c. Morovino Pinot Grigio or other white wine (could also use chicken broth)
1 clove of garlic crushed
2T soy sauce
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Thinly slice ½ the lemon. Put the wine/broth, the juice of the other half of the lemon, garlic and soy in a 9 x 12 baking dish. Put the salmon in the baking dish. If it has skin, it should be skin side down. Top the salmon with the slices of lemon. Cover with foil and put in the oven for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes remove from oven, and remove the skin. For gourmet bonus points, drizzle it with Black Truffle Oil (available at Von’s, online and at specialty food stores). Serve with a green salad and mushroom risotto.
I have had so very many comments on this recipe – it is easy, delicious and relatively healthy. I hope you try it soon!
Make and serve with 2009 Barbera.
2 Large bonelss, skinless chicken breasts (about 1 ½ lbs)
1 C. Morovino Barbera
1 Small onion, chopped
4 Cloves garlic, minced
½ package of mushrooms, sliced
1 small can sliced olives, drained
1 14 oz. Can diced tomatoes, undrained
2 T. olive oil
¼ C. shredded basil leaves
4 thin slices of prosciutto or pancetta
Add the oil to a saute pan and brown the chicken breast on both sides over medium heat (about 5 minutes). Remove the chicken breasts and put them in the oven to keep warm. Use the same pan to brown the onions, garlic and mushrooms over medium high heat (about 3 minutes). Add the Barbera to deglaze the pan and allow it to reduce by half. Add the tomatoes and the olives and let the juices reduce a bit more. Add the chicken breasts back to the pan and top with 2 slices of pancetta or prosciutto. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes. Uncover, add the shredded basil leaves and let simmer for 3-4 more minutes. You can top this with shredded parmesan, if you like it. This is great served with any type of pasta. Ooooohhhh. Mrs. Vino is getting hungry as she types this