Chicken with White Beans and Tomatoes

Nothing says “pre-game” like preparing a well-balanced, flavorful, home-cooked meal, right?

Well that’s exactly what me and my two best girls, Emily and Devin, did last night in preparation for the trek to the housewarming of our other best girl, Morgan in Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn. I had found this recipe online at Real Simple from their Daily Recipe RSS feed earlier in the week, and even though it didn’t strike me as potentially having a lot of flavor, I thought it would be a good back-pocket recipe for those times where you can turn to your pantry and make something simple and pretty healthy.

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Pizza Margherita with Prosciutto and Basil

To me, pizza is the ultimate comfort food. No matter the topping, cold or hot, spicy or mild, fresh out the oven or straight from the fridge- pizza always hits the spot and is the perfect portable meal. Living in Jersey City and working in New York, there is no shortage of great pizza places around, and it’s always easy to satisfy any cravings you might have, pizza-wise (or otherwise, but that’s another story).

pizza noms

But sometimes, the bug hits you and you’re like… hmm, making pizza dough shouldn’t be too hard… and a nice quick homemade sauce… and some fresh mozz… …no? Just me? Well, okay then. But I’m here to tell you that it actually isn’t too hard- provided you can find some freakin yeast.

I visited one of my favorite Italian specialty shops in Manhattan, Citarella, on the corner of W. 9th St and 6th Ave on my way home, hoping to score some fresh basil, prosciutto, and yeast for the dough for the night’s culinary adventure. This place has a ton of crazy good (and sometimes expensive) ingredients, plus a bakery, so I assumed I’d be able to find some there. But no, no yeast for sale!

So I crossed W. 9th to a mini-mart, and asked the lady if she had any yeast. “It’s that way!” she sort of yelled, while pointing…. east. Not yeast.

ingredients Determined not to give up, I made one last attempt at LifeThyme, down the street a little on 6th Ave. After talking to a few of the employees and even a manager, I finally found 3 packets of active dry yeast. Success!

Now for the baking.. I adapted the dough recipe from AllRecipes.com to add a little more flavor, but feel free to go nuts on the toppings. I love prosciutto and it gets super nice and crispy while baking- but the sky’s the limit when it comes to personalizing your pizza- after all, that’s what is so great about it!

Finished project

Pizza Margherita with Prosciutto and Basil
 
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Serves: 4

Ingredients
For the crust:
  • 1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast
  • 1 cup warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons white sugar
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • corn meal, to cover the baking sheet or pizza stone
For the sauce:
  • 1½ cups canned crushed tomatoes
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 4 large basil leaves, shredded
  • salt and pepper
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
Toppings:
  • fresh mozzarella, sliced (quantity up to your preference- I had around 12 slices)
  • 4 large basil leaves, shredded
  • 2 slices prosciutto, chopped into smaller pieces

Instructions
  1. In a small bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes.
  2. In a large bowl, combine 2 cups flour, olive oil, salt, white sugar and the yeast mixture; stir well to combine. Beat well until a stiff dough has formed. Cover and rise until doubled in volume, about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  3. While dough is rising, in a pan over medium heat, heat oil. Cook garlic until lightly cooked. Add tomatoes, oregano, shredded basil, and salt and pepper and simmer sauce until dough is ready to go.
  4. Turn dough out onto a baking sheet or pizza stone that has been covered in corn meal. A good idea is to cover your hands in flour first so that the dough doesn’t stick too much to your fingers (something I found out after attempting).
  5. Ladle sauce over the pizza, and place mozzarella, prosciutto, and basil over as you like.
  6. Bake for 20-25 minutes. When done, let sit for a few before slicing and serving (so you don’t burn your mouth off!)

about to meet the heatSide note: what do you think of the pics? Got my new camera today! Still playing around but I’m already seeing an improvement in photo quality.

Happy Eating 🙂
mally

Chicken Soup with Rice

chicken soup with rice

Since I was a little girl, my comfort food has always been chicken soup. When I was small, my mom would heat up some chicken bouillon in water for me when I wasn’t feeling well. When I grew up and was allowed to use the stove, I would make my dad and I “deets”- chicken broth with ditalini noodles and a dash (ha, ha, get it) of lemon juice just before serving. I have continued to make some variation of “deets” throughout the years, during college and into the last few years of me living on my own. It’s quick, simple, and comforting.

The chicken soup recipe that follows is a little more complex (ie, more than 3 ingredients, ha). But it’s hearty and is a great way to close out 2010 on a cold night!

The chicken I used for this is actually leftover from Tuesday night’s Roman Style Chicken- adds another layer of flavor to this tasty soup. Let me know what you think!

Chicken Soup with Rice
 
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Serves: 4

Ingredients
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • ½ cup carrots, sliced
  • 3 stalks celery, sliced
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • ½ tsp dried oregano
  • 1⅓ cups rice (I used Carolina extra-long grain, but any rice should do. Be sure to adjust cooking time accordingly)
  • 7 cups low sodium chicken broth
  • 1 tbsp fresh thyme
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • Hot sauce to taste (I prefer Frank’s Red Hot- but this is optional)
  • Parsley for garnish

Instructions
  1. Heat oil in deep pot over medium-high heat. Add garlic, cook 1 minute till golden.
  2. Add onion, celery, and carrots and cook until soft, about 7-8 minutes.
  3. Add salt, pepper, and dried oregano; add rice and allow to toast in the pan with the vegetables and spices for one minute to infuse extra flavor.
  4. Then add chicken broth and bring to a boil. Lower heat to a simmer, add cooked chicken and thyme, and keep on low for 20 min until rice is cooked through.
  5. Before serving, add lemon juice and hot sauce if desired, and finish off with parsley for garnish.

fixin's for feedin

Happy Eating 🙂
mally

Snickerdoodles!

snickerdoodles_01

My boyfriend Paul’s favorite store-bought cookies are the Snickerdoodles from Pepperidge Farm. I have to admit they are pretty dang tasty, but since I am very competitive I knew the day would come where I’d have to tell Mrs. Pepperidge to back off.

Well, let’s start at the beginning. For Christmas, I got a LOT of kitchen-related stuff- part of the reason I decided to start this blog, in order to put it all into use at some point or another. Perhaps one of my favorite (and most useful) gifts were two ginormous jars of Nutella. Yes, the Costco-size ones.

One really great Christmas gift.

I normally mix Nutella in my oatmeal, but was wondering if it’d be possible to actually bake with it. So, as hinted to in my first post, I turned to Google to see what others had done with this magi

cal ambrosia and stumbled upon a new favorite food blogger: Kimberly Nguyen from Lovin’ From the Oven. She had posted a great recipe for Nutella chocolate chip cookies which I followed to a T- and the results were.. well.. I’m not entirely sure since my boyfriend (the aformentioned cookie fanatic) and our friend demolished all 3 dozen within 24 hours. So I’m going to guess, pretty good (OK, OK, not entirely true- I ate like three. And they were spectac. Make this recipe as soon as you can).

Anyways… getting back to the point. I started clicking around Lovin’ From the Oven and found the recipe that I finally tested out tonight: Snickerdoodles! According to LFTO blogger Kimberly, this recipe allegedly has its roots from a certain Mrs. Fields.

I tell ya. If it’s not those Pepperidges, it’s that hussy Mrs. Fields. Otis Spunkmeyer you trying to steal my boyfriend too?!!

Well… imaginary love quadrangles aside, here’s the recipe!

Snickerdoodles!
 
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Delicious, chewy and luscious sugar cookies with a hint of cinnamon.
Serves: 30-40

Ingredients
  • ½ cup butter (1 stick), softened
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ⅓ cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • 1½ cups flour
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
  • For rolling:
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon

Instructions
  1. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugars with an electric mixer on high speed. Add the egg and vanilla and beat until smooth.
  2. In another bowl, combine the flour, salt, baking soda, and cream of tartar (if you were like me, you’re like say WHAT?! Cream of what? Turns out it is a byproduct of wine-making. Sounds way, way better now, right?)
  3. Pour the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and mix well.
  4. Preheat oven to 300 degrees while you let the dough rest for to 60 minutes in the refrigerator.
  5. In a small bowl, combine the sugar with the cinnamon for the topping. Take about 2½ tablespoons of the dough and roll it into a ball. Roll this dough in the cinnamon/sugar mixture and press it onto an ungreased cookie sheet. Repeat for the remaining cookies.
  6. Bake the cookies for 12 to 14 minutes and no more. The cookies may seem undercooked, but will continue to develop after they are removed from the oven. When the cookies have cooled they should be soft and chewy in the middle.

Side note: Whenever I make cookies, I always line the baking sheet with aluminum foil or parchment paper. Makes for easy cleanup and you never have to grease the pan.

Happy Eating 🙂
mally

Roman Style Chicken

I LOVE cooking with fresh ingredients- fresh herbs, fresh vegetables, fresh anything. How can you not, when you see colors like these!

Freshness

Thyme

Last night my good friend Devin came over and we decided to revisit an old favorite on a cold winter night, Giada de Laurentiis’ Roman-Style Chicken. The last time I made this was at a “dinner party” I hosted in 2007 for my high school pals at my parents’ house after I graduated college. It was great then, so I was excited to make it again. After a long day of shoveling Paul’s car out of the street after the crazy blizzard this weekend, we wanted a warm, home-cooked meal.

This dish gets a lot of its flavor and color from the red and yellow peppers, which stew with the fresh thyme, tomatoes, and crispy prosciutto to make one really luscious sauce that’s full of flavor. But don’t take my word for it- try it out yourself!

Roman Style Chicken
 
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Serves: 4

Ingredients
  • 4 skinless chicken breast halves, with ribs
  • 2 skinless chicken thighs, with bones
  • ½ teaspoon salt, plus 1 teaspoon
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus 1 teaspoon
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, sliced
  • 3 ounces prosciutto, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 (15-ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • ½ cup white wine (I used Pinot Grigio)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 teaspoon fresh oregano leaves (or ½ tsp dried- I couldn’t find fresh in my store at the time)
  • ½ cup chicken stock
  • 2 tablespoons capers
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves

Instructions
  1. Season the chicken with ½ teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon pepper. In a heavy, large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. When the oil is hot, cook the chicken until browned on both sides. Remove from the pan and set aside.
  2. Keeping the same pan over medium heat, add the peppers and prosciutto and cook until the peppers have browned and the prosciutto is crisp, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the tomatoes, wine, and herbs. Using a wooden spoon, scrape the browned bits off the bottom of the pan. Return the chicken to the pan, add the stock, and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, until the chicken is cooked through, about 20 to 30 minutes.
  3. If serving immediately, add the capers and the parsley. Stir to combine and serve. If making ahead of time, transfer the chicken and sauce to a storage container, cool, and refrigerate. The next day, reheat the chicken to a simmer over medium heat. Stir in the capers and the parsley and serve.

Finished product

We paired this with some fried polenta and sauteed spinach. However, since I do not prefer dark meat I just kept it to four breasts- bone-in of course. It was just as good as I remembered- and between the three of us we had two whole breasts left over! Apologies for the poor photo- but I hope you can get the idea of the peppers, tomatoes, and capers (yum) all coming together to make an incredible sauce for the chicken.

For more foodventure pics, check out my flickr!

Happy Eating 🙂
mally

 

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