Tag Archives: spinach

Creamy Garlic Chicken

I think I have finally found something I am passionate about. I mean truly passionate about. I love playing golf, I love gardening, I love traveling and exploring; but what gets me really excited is food. It only took me around 20 years to figure out that I get super excited about the experience of and being around food. I mean it has not always been this way trust me but I definitely can see that I have become more excited at the prospect of getting into a restaurant that is impossible to get in, finding a hidden gem by accident and staying for hours,  seeing/meeting a famous chef or even a chef that came in second on Chopped; yeah that really happened.
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My daughter wanted to go to a restaurant the runner up was cooking at in Washington DC; so we were in the city and went for lunch, I mentioned to our waiter we were here only because my daughter saw him on chopped. He said he was cooking out back and then proceeded to tell him without our knowledge. A chef was coming towards us; came to our table and chatted with us, more like me, my daughter was chef shocked and could barely speak. Same thing happened when she came face to face with Iron Chef Geoffrey Zakarian on a flight from Japan to the US.
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Last year my daughter and I went to a taping of a radio show featuring ex iron chef Mario Batali, this week I am dragging 9 of my foodie family and friends to a fundraising dinner and I paid extra for my ticket for a meet and greet with Iron Chef Alex Guarnascelli.  I am currently waiting “patiently” to see if my name is pulled to make a reservation to the Lost Kitchen in Freedom ME; which is only taking names via 3×5 index cards mailed in for reservations.  Also a couple of years ago my husband and I along with another couple made a reservation to a restaurant in Montreal Canada that had a 4 month waiting list; which by the way is a 4 hour drive from us. Not to mention I am heading into my fourth year of writing a weekly food blog. I think you get the gist now!

I love that I am sharing my passion with my husband and kids and that they are just as much a foodie as I am. Having dinner together at the table every night together IS important! What my husband said about this dish “knocked it out of the park”

Ingredients

1 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts, thinly sliced or chopped up like I did
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup chicken broth
2-3 cloves of minced garlic
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan Reggiano cheese
1 cup chopped spinach
1/2 cup sun dried tomatoes
Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper

Instructions

season chicken with salt and pepper, in a large skillet cook the chicken until cooked through and browned on each side, remove chicken and set aside.
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Add the garlic for and cook for 30 seconds, do not let it brown. add the chicken stock and using a wooden spoon get all the browned bits up off the pan, cook for about 3-4 minutes to almost half of the stock is gone.
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Add the heavy cream, seasoning, cheese and whisk over high heat till it thickens. Add the spinach and tomatoes and bring to a simmer until the spinach wilts.  Add the chicken to the sauce.
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serve over pasta if you want – I served it over linguine and it re-heated beautifully the next day!

Macros – chicken and sauce only
484 Calories 57 g Protein 34 g 23 g Fat 9 g Carbs

Spinach Cheddar Souffle

Today is supposed to be a nice sunny day here in NH it’s about time just saying!

Last week we had an epic fail in the kitchen I say we because my husband sort of kind of helped. This is not the first fail but this one was pretty pathetic and whilst in the middle of it my husband said and I quote “you should blog about this” my first thought was why what could I possibly share or talk about. He thought it would be good to show a failure, I am still laughing out loud.

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So the evening started out with hey do you want to go out or stay in? After a short conversation he was craving spaghetti & bread for dinner and he was going to make it. Fine with me, I was catching up on one of my taped shows. He went to take a shower and I thought I would help by browning the sausage and boiling the water. Then that turned into me starting the jar sauce and doctoring it up. That was our; yes I am still making him share in the blame; I really wanted to go out. I added some herbs as well as fresh basil from my windowsill. I also added some garlic powder and that was the downfall. So technically he had nothing to do with this I totally owned this fail but if we went out like I wanted it could have been avoided.

 

First bite he looks up and says is it salty? I take a bite and wow what the heck happened, it was actually inedible. It was so salty we couldn’t continue. OK now what; we had a little bit of spaghetti leftover but the sauce had to go. Now you’re going to laugh or at least my girlfriend did when I told her, I took the sauce and put it in a strainer yup a strainer. I did not use water like she thought, I just shook the sauce off the sausage and started over. Oh and did I mention that we burnt the garlic toast too – it happens! We both agreed the bolognese with handmade and cut pasta I made last night more than made up for the spaghetti fail earlier in the week.

I have always wanted to make a souffle but was always hesitant; they make it sound so difficult to have it come out right. I figured this would have to be a Sunday thing to try. When I usually have a little more time and I could pay a little more attention. Or so I thought! A quiet day for me ended with my in-laws stopping by and staying and a friend of my daughter coming over. Did I mention my daughter’s friend is a chef. I swear running with scissors is just how I operate in the kitchen. Thankfully it worked out and it really wasn’t too hard, however it is a process. I am looking forward to trying a sweet souffle in the near future.

I hope everyone has a wonderful day and Happy Easter!

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Note- before you want to make this be sure to take out 5 large eggs and the frozen chopped spinach so it has time to thaw

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Spinach and Cheddar Souffle

3 tablespoon unsalted butter, plus a little extra for greasing the dish
¼ cup finely grated parmesan cheese, plus extra for sprinkling
3 tablespoons all purpose flour
1 cup warmed milk
¼ teaspoon of nutmeg
Pinch of cayenne pepper
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 extra large egg yolks at room temperature
½ cup grated aged cheddar cheese, lightly packed
1 pack frozen chopped spinach, defrosted and squeezed dry
5 extra large egg whites, at room temperature
⅛ teaspoon cream of tartar

Preheat oven 400’ F. butter the inside of a 6-8 cup souffle dish and sprinkle evenly with Parmesan.

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Melt butter in a small saucepan over low heat. With a wooden spoon, stir in the flour and cook, stirring constantly for a couple of minutes. Remove from the heat and whisk in the hot milk, nutmeg cayenne, ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Cook over low heat, whisking constantly for 1 minute until smooth and thick

 

Off the heat, though still hot, whisk in the egg yolks one at a time. Stir in the Cheddar, ¼ cup of the parmesan and the spinach. Transfer to a large mixing bowl

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In the bowl to your electric mixer put the egg whites, cream of tartar, and a pinch of salt fitted with the whisk attachment; beat on low for a minute. Then on medium for another minute and finally on high speed until they are firm glossy peaks.

 

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Whisk in a quarter of the egg whites into the cheese sauce to lighten them up, then gently fold in the rest of the mixture. Pour into the prepared souffle dish. Draw a large circle on top with a spatula to help the souffle rise evenly. Place in the middle of the oven. Turn the temperature down to 375’F and bake for 30-35 minutes being careful not to peak until puffed and browned.  Serve immediately

 

Recipe by Ina Garten

Spinach Bacon and Cheese Breakfast Skillet

This week I found a new found respect for my cast iron skillet. Don’t get me wrong I have used it many times for certain dishes, mainly something to do with chicken. I actually like to use it on my gas grill for beer can chicken, it is very sturdy and I don’t have to use my nice pans on the grill which tend to get quite dirty. I definitely do not use it as often as I probably could or should.

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We do have the grill out and ready but have only been really able to use it only a couple of times so far, the weather has been unseasonably cold around here, just yesterday was the first day I didn’t have snow on my front lawn since last November, it’s got to turn around soon!!! We should be out cleaning the yard and gardens. Not sitting inside with the heat still on. Just this morning I made broccoli cheddar soup, chili and I am going to make a roasted chicken in a little bit. Those are all things I do in the Fall not in the Spring.

I had been craving a good burger for a couple of weeks now and I do make a mean burger so instead of going outside and freezing my butt off I decided to break out my cast iron and make a mess in the house. According to my guys “that was a great burger, thank you”.  I couldn’t agree more, the char on them was “AWESOME” I know that they wouldn’t have been as good if I used a different pan. Leaving the burger in place until the pan releases the meat is key to making the burgers delicious!!!!

This morning I brought the cast iron out again and it didn’t disappoint, I saw a Spinach & Cheese Breakfast Skillet recipe on Eating Well online. I did change mine up a little bit, I added chopped onions, I didn’t pre-cook my potato and I added more bacon and an extra egg than their original one listed. 

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Spinach & Cheese Breakfast Skillet

2 Medium sized potatoes peeled and diced in small cubes

1 small onion diced

2 Slices of bacon – I used 3 and it was too much – if that is even such a thing

3 cups fresh baby spinach

1/8 tsp salt

2 large eggs

2/3 cups shredded cheddar cheese

Freshly cracked black pepper

2 Tbs water – for steam – helps cook the eggs quicker

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Peel and wash potatoes, slice in approx. 1/2” cubes. Cook bacon in skillet till crispy remove and set aside. Add potato to bacon grease cook till browned and tender, add diced onion. Cook until onions are slightly browned. Add spinach, stir till combined and barely wilted.  Make a couple of wells and crack an egg in each. Reduce heat to medium low and cook until the eggs are partially set, 2 to 3 minutes. Sprinkle with cheese, add water and cover and cook until the cheese is melted and the egg whites are completely set. Chop the bacon and sprinkle on top, garnish with generous grinding of pepper.

Wilted Spinach Salad

This last week there wasn’t a lot of cooking going at Clark Towers. It’s been quite some time since we ate out more than in; which is a little sad since I do love to cook and thankfully it doesn’t happen very often but I’m dealing, I did however make lunch yesterday for me and the guys just so I could actually make something well that and I needed to use up some fresh spinach that I bought before it went bad. Mind you this is not the first time I bought a big bag of spinach to make this dish, it usually just ended up in regular tossed salads.

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My husband remembers fondly of a wilted spinach salad that his mother made from his childhood. I on the other hand would not eat spinach (its green) to save my life when I was a kid. I’m am pretty happy I got over my no green food rule, I was missing out on some pretty fantastic options (I can see my mother smirking now). such as avocados – Guacamole is one of my absolute favorites and I make it all the time. Fresh spinach is also yummy I might just need to add this salad to my list of greens I like to eat now.

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I was definitely watching my husband take his first bite, I got nothing… (uhh deflated) he waited for his 3rd bite to finally speak – nodding his head he said he loved it! Phew I was a little worried, well not worried but curious if I pulled it off. My son on the other hand wasn’t in love with it, he is not a big egg fan so next time I would probably use 1 less egg, or not; he is old enough, he can fend for himself.

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The only problem is this is not a salad that will stay long; you really need to eat the whole thing at one sitting. I should have taken a picture of my husband coming back to the table and using the salad tongs to take one or two more bites.

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Wilted Spinach Salad

6 cups spinach, washed drained very well and torn into bite-sized pieces

¼ cup sliced green onion

2-3 hardboiled eggs, chopped

6 slices of bacon, cooked until crispy and chopped

3 Tbs reserved bacon drippings

¼ cup vinegar

2 Tbs sugar

2 Tbs water

½ tsp kosher salt

¼ tsp freshly cracked black pepper

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Place eggs in a sauce pan cover with cold water, bring to a boil, cover and turn off the heat. Let sit 13 minutes and then run under cold water, peel and roughly chop. Set aside.

Cook bacon in a skillet until crispy, transfer to paper towels to drain

Combine spinach, onions and eggs in a large bowl

In a small bowl add vinegar, water, sugar, salt and pepper, while bacon is draining on paper towels add vinegar mixture to 3 Tbs of the reserved bacon drippings, heat to boiling, stirring just to blend.

Pour hot mixture over spinach; gently toss and sprinkle with bacon

Serve immediately