Chicken Wrapped Asparagus

The other day I was rummaging around my freezer figuring out what to make for dinner. I found a tray of thin chicken breasts that were like scallopini. I remembered I bought them on sale for less than $4 (when I see sales like that I stock up and vacuum seal them). I also had a fresh bunch of asparagus sitting in the fridge. I knew I wanted to make something that incorporated both ingredients and then I remembered I also had some low fat old cheddar cheese (not old as in time spent in my fridge but old as in flavour ūüėČ )

I thought “how about wrapping the asparagus in the chicken lined with some cheese for extra flavour!”

Defrosting the chicken didn’t take long and here is how it turned out. ¬†I got 4 wrapped pieces which is 4 meals along with a salad. ¬†Not bad for a total of about $6 -$7 dollars. They looked great and where tasty too.

chicken wrapped asparagus

Ingredients:

2 Boneless skinless chicken breasts thinly sliced and pounded (or buy them this way as I did)

¬Ĺ – 1 lb of asparagus

Old cheddar cheese thinly sliced (or any cheese of your liking – goat cheese would work well too – I just used what I had on hand – use 1-2 slices per roll – it will leak out a bit but who doesn’t like melted cheese?)

Pepper to taste

1 Tbsp olive oil

Directions:

Lay a slice of chicken breast flat on a plate or piece of parchment or any type of sheet/board – I have a bunch of those thin plastic cutting boards. Lay down 1-2 slices of cheese (or spread goat cheese) per piece of chicken. Place about 4-5 stalks of asparagus trimmed (it can stick out the bottom and top) and roll the chicken and cheese around the asparagus. Hold together with a toothpick or two – remember to remove these before serving.

Place roll in heated frying pan with the olive oil an sear all around. Once chicken is lightly browned or cooked outside all around, place pan in oven at 350 degrees (F) for 15 minutes. This will finish the cooking and make sure the asparagus is also cooked nicely. Remember ovens vary so if you need a few minutes longer then leave it in for about 20 minutes – shouldn’t need any longer though.

Remove from the pan and serve. ¬†This whole dish took 30 minutes from start to finish. Now thats what I call “Cheap and Cheerful”!

Advertisements

Leftovers – Lets Make Pizza!

It’s been just over two years now that I have been blogging and I still love it! Great readers from all over the world who themselves publish great blogs that I enjoy reading.

Many of you know from past blogs that I like to use things up that are in the fridge rather than throwing them away.  This time I had some tofu, some roasted grape tomatoes that I made with balsamic vinegar and olive oil (recipe to follow), some pork tenderloin and a piece of mozzarella cheese.  Something screamed pizza!

I had some whole wheat wraps in the fridge. I spread a bit of marinara sauce over one and added a small amount of the grated cheese. I quickly sautéed some mushrooms and garlic with the chopped up tofu (I know it sounds weird but for those of you that are vegetarian it really works!). I also chopped up the pork tenderloin (I am not a vegetarian) and threw that into the pan to sauté as well.  Once everything was warmed, I spread it over the wrap. I then added some roasted balsamic grape tomatoes and the additional cheese on top. Baked the whole pizza for about 20 minutes till the edges were crisp and there it was Рa quick and easy dinner (and lunch the next day!).

Recipe for roasted grape tomatoes follows images…

pizza 2

pizza

Roasted balsamic grape tomatoes.

I had a couple of containers of grape tomatoes that were starting to get a bit wrinkled so rather than tossing them in the garbage I sliced them in half and put them in a bowl,  sprinkled a bit of balsamic vinegar and olive oil over them and let them marinate for about 20 minutes. I then drained them and put them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and roasted them for about 3 hours at 350 degrees F. They make a great addition to salads, pizza, roasted vegetables etc.

Xmas Dinner 2013

Xmas dinner 2013 was had on December 24rd with my “adopted” family the McBurney clan which includes Jay and Jonathan, with Meg and Rob and the Matriarch of the family Marg and Bob – plus all the kids…

This year we had it at Jay and Jonathan’s. Jonathan is a fabulous cook so you know the meal will be wonderful when you walk in the door and start smelling the aromas of Xmas cooking.

Jonathan kindly lets me help out cooking a few things as we do love to talk food and cooking ideas. His turkey this year (as every year) was delicious and moist and devoured!

The potato galette which is a specialty of his is out of this world.  He slices the potatoes with a mandolin and layers them in the pinwheel shape you see here. He adds emmental cheese to each layer and finishes with stilton on top.  Lactose intolerance be damned РI dug into those potatoes!

The squash was slow roasted for three hours giving it the sweetest caramelized flavour ever.

I got to make the brussels sprouts which we just par boiled then sautéed with butter and topped with sautéed  crispy chopped  sage leaves and shredded parmesan cheese.

The stuffing, wine but especially the company was outstanding and I have to say when I awoke the next morning I think I was still full of good feelings, food and memories of another great Xmas spent with wonderful people.

potato galette

potato galette 2

Turkey

IMG_1242

Brussels sprouts

Friday Night Dinner With Old Friends

I may have mentioned in previous posts about my friend Fern who is my oldest friend (not in age but in years we’ve known each other ūüėČ )

Last Friday I went over to Ferns in the afternoon so we could cook a nice dinner together for Friday evening.  Her dad, husband Ian one of her sons Chase along with another old friend (again not in age but years known) Liz all came for dinner.

I went over about 2:00 in the afternoon so we could take our time and hang out.  We made the honey sesame chicken recipe I have posted before on brown rice along with brussel sprouts seared with chestnuts and bacon pieces and a great salad.

There is a small story behind the brown rice I have to admit. ¬†I am not good at making rice. ¬†I do not have a rice cooker and my rice always comes out a bit mushy or wet even though I follow the guidelines exactly. ¬†This time Fern gave me a box of Uncle Bens converted brown rice. ¬†How could I go wrong? Well I started following the instructions for something else on the box and in my defence there were about 3 different methods of cooking the darn rice. ¬†I added way too much water and thankfully Fern came to the rescue and dumped half the water mid way and saved the rice from being porridge. I don’t think I will ever live that down as the whole time we were cooking (and drinking wine) I kept saying “I don’t think this rice is right”

We lucked out since Ian (Ferns husband) just bought a restaurant downtown that serves fabulous cheesecake so he brought home a great assortment for us to choose from along with a great chocolate “babka” cake Liz brought.

When all was said and done, it was a really great day and a lovely evening with old friends and great food.

salad

 infamous rice
chicken and sprouts
chicken on rice
Couldn’t resist this picture too – When I got up to bring something to the table and came back to sit down – this little girl was in my seat – think she wanted to join the fun! She was quickly shoo’d off the chair but what a face!!!!
dog

Sweet and Spicy Stir Fry Chicken with Eggplant and Broccoli

That is a very long title I realize….But it is accurate. ¬†I found a sauce at the grocery store that was a sweet and spicy chilli sauce. ¬†I thought it might work well on a stir fry so I bought it. ¬†I am doing a lot of cooking this month for a friend of mine so I figured this is a good time to experiment with some dishes to add to my menu lists. This week was the chicken in this recipe, pasta prima vera with chicken and quinoa with roasted vegetables. Stay tuned over the next couple of weeks for the other recipes ūüėČ

spicey sweet chicken

This was pretty easy to make and didn’t take much time at all. For my friends version I am providing brown rice to go with it but for myself I thought I would have it on it’s own.

Here is the recipe:

Ingredients Рserves  2

2 boneless skinless chicken breasts cut in cubes

1/4 cup of sweet and spice chilli sauce (if it says sweet on the label of the chilli sauce then it is most likely sweet and spicy) plus a small reserve amount for broccoli and eggplant

1 japanese eggplant cut in 1/2 inch slices round

2 cups of broccoli florets

1 tsp of canola oil for frying

Directions:

Pour 1/4 cup of sauce over cubed chicken pieces and marinate for about 15 minutes (can be longer). Stir fry the chicken till cooked and put aside when done.

Add a bit of oil to the pan and put the slices of eggplant one side face down and brown slightly. Then flip over and brown the other side.  Remove and set aside. Steam the broccoli in the microwave for about 3 minutes, drain and put in the pan to sauté slightly. Add the eggplant back in and drizzle a bit of sauce over the vegetables and stir fry for a minute or two.  Take off the heat and arrange on a plate any way you like.  You can put rice down first, then mix the chicken and vegetables together or separate them as I have done in the picture.  Any way works!

Enjoy

Smashed Potatoes with Leeks and Cheddar

Okay so I was a bit bored the other day (especially with what was in my fridge…). I had a few baby red boiled potatoes left over from a food order, a small piece of old cheddar and my lovely neighbour dropped off a huge beautiful leek at my door the other day (don’t ask…).

I remembered my friend Ted’s potato dish from Dinner with Ted and Judy and thought I would try to make something similar. ¬†Well it is not at all the same ¬†but this is very yummy. ¬†First I saut√©ed the chopped leeks (1 leek white part only), then added two giant cloves of garlic minced (just because I love garlic!). ¬†I then put the cold potatoes (7 small red potatoes) into the pan and “smashed” them with my potato masher. I realized I may not have enough potato so I started to mix the ingredients in the pan a bit and then decided I needed something to bind somewhat so out came my trusty egg whites to the rescue! ¬†I just poured about 1/4 cup over the mixture and then kind of stirred it up a bit so the egg worked it’s way through the mixture. ¬†I grated the tiny bit of cheese I had left over the top and mixed it as best I could.¬†Then I pressed it down into the small frying pan and seared it till one side was browned.

Using a small plate I covered the fry pan and flipped the potato mixture onto the plate and then slid it back into the fry pan to brown the other side (it did break apart a bit but it’s called “smashed” potato mix so who cares if it is a bit messy. Once back in the pan I smoothed out the edged pressing it down again into the pan. ¬†The finished product was delicious!

smashed potato and leek

smashed potato and leek2

100 Mile Cassoulet Meal in the Country

I spent the other weekend at my friend Victoria’s place in the country. ¬†It was a wonderful weekend full of art shows and country town drives. ¬†We hit the farmers market on Saturday morning to get ingredients for dinner that night, still not totally sure what we were going to make but wanting to be inspired by the local produce. ¬†We decided on a version of a cassoulet. ¬†I had brought up smoked turkey and smoked chicken sausages from my local butcher shop that were already cooked but just needed a bit of grilling to brown them. ¬†It was so delicious!!!!!

We got two meals for us and then another three meals to freeze out of the recipe which when we worked it out came to about $2.50 Р$3.00 per serving at the most.  Full of great vegetables and flavours.  (As an aside РI added leftover cooked quinoa with vegetables to a serving I brought home and it was great).

Victoria also made a Caprese style salad on skewers for us – it was so good and so unusual. The secret is to soak the cubes of mozzarella cheese in balsamic vinegar for several minutes or longer before putting on the skewer. The cheese along with fresh basil from the garden and small grape tomatoes from the garden made for a wonder “salad”

Caprese salad sticks

Cassoulet 1

Casoulette 2

Ingredients:

1 onion

1 leek

2 medium carrots sliced

2 celery stalks sliced

2 garlic cloves – minced or chopped

1 can white kidney beans

2 bay leaves

1 large red pepper

1 small can diced tomatoes (we used Victorias homemade roasted tomatoes which gave an even smokier flavour)

Pepper to taste

2 large cooked smoked sausages (turkey or chicken) sliced (1/4″ thick max.)

3 cups chicken or vegetable broth

8-10 large mushroom (large pieces)

Pinch of cumin

1-2 tsp of chilli garlic hot sauce – quantity depends on how spicy you like your food)

Parmesan cheese to top it with

Directions:

Sauté onions and leeks. Add all ingredients and simmer for 1 hour. When you plate it Рadd some grated or shredded parmesan cheese to the top and serve with a baguette to absorb any liquid

Serves 6

Zucchini Boats

I have heard it is often tough to get kids (and some adults) to eat vegetables Рpersonally I love veggies but that is me.  I came across a recipe that I thought was really smart and delicious.  Zucchini Boats!  I am attaching the link to the blog that featured them along with the photo from that blog.  Use your imagination (and your kids imagination) for toppings. Enjoy!

http://www.prouditaliancook.com/tag/zucchini-boats

 

zuc-1-1

Summer dinner with Fern and Ian

Fern is my oldest friend – we have known each other since we were 8 years old (just a few years ago really ūüėČ )

I took a half day off work on a Friday and hung out with Fern in her lovely swimming pool after which we made dinner for her family . It was a lovely day with a perfect ending – good food and good company.

The menu was simple Рfresh salad topped with feta, mixed red and white quinoa with grilled onion, red pepper and a bit of parmesan cheese, grilled marinated salmon and fresh corn on the cob just boiled.  While simple, the food was fresh and delicious.  Cooking with friends is a great way to spend time.

summer dinner at Fern and Ians

red & white quinoa and veg

salad with feta

Dinner at Jane’s

Had a wonderful dinner at my friend Jane’s the other night along with another friend Jocelyn. ¬†We sat out in the garden on a perfect evening eating until we started clearing dishes and I freaked out about the bees (yes many of you know I am somewhat bug phobic….). ¬†Inside we went for a pretty spectacularly presented dessert of fresh fruit and a trifle (and some more wine….)

Dinner was salmon steamed in parchment with vegetables (recipe from the cookbook French Women don’t Get Fat), baby potatoes and perfectly ripe deliciously meaty tomatoes with goat cheese and balsamic vinegar. So so good!

raw salmon

salmon in parchment 2

salmon in parchment1

triffle