Monday, June 14, 2010

Keeping it Lite for Summer

So last week we were so full and tired that we never even gave baking directions for the Puff Pastry Braid...after it was braided we brushed it with an egg wash and baked it in a 400 degree oven until it was golden brown and puffy. The braid is something I used to make years ago and can't remember where I got the recipe so it was all from memory. Last night we made homemade pizza, pepperoni for the kids and tomato, basil and fresh mozzarella for me and John & Erin. It was so easy and good we ate every bite!

This week we made some salads, a sandwich and stuffed chicken breasts, only had to turn the oven on for the angel food cake. Here is what we came up with this week:

Chicken Stuffed With Goat Cheese & Sundried Tomatoes

* 4 sundried tomato halves (not packed in oil)
* 1 cup hot water
* 2 ounces goat cheese (soft type)
* 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
* Freshly ground black pepper
* 2 (5-ounce) chicken breasts
* Salt
* Cooking oil spray

1. Place sun dried tomatoes in a small bowl, and cover with hot water. Soak 10 minutes, drain, and chop. Add goat cheese, basil, and pepper to tomatoes and stir to combine.
2. Place chicken on a cutting board and use a paring knife to slice a pocket into the side of each chicken breast to hold the filling. Enlarge the pocket carefully without cutting all the way through. Divide cheese mixture between pieces of chicken, gently stuffing it into the pocket. Secure with toothpicks if desired.
3. Season the outside of the chicken breasts lightly with salt and pepper. Coat a medium nonstick skillet with cooking spray and heat over medium flame. When hot, add chicken and cook 5 minutes or until golden brown underneath. Reduce heat to low, turn chicken breasts over, and cover. Cook 10 minutes or until no pink color remains when cut through the thickest part.

So yeah this makes 2 servings, as if that is enough for anyone, we quadrupled it and made 8 servings.

Spicy Pinto Bean and Tuna Salad with Peperoncini, Tomatoes, and Parsley

1 can pinto beans, rinsed and drained
2 T fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 T peperoncini juice (brine from the bottle of peppers)
1/2 tsp. green Tobasco sauce (or more if you like it spicy)
1 tsp. Spike Seasoning (optional but recommended)
salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
5 T extra-virgin olive oil
4-6 large peperoncini peppers, stem and seeds removed and finely chopped
1/4 cup sliced green onion
1 cup chopped tomato, drained if the tomatoes are very juicy (I used cherry tomatoes cut in fourths)
1/2 cup chopped parsley
1 can (5-7 oz) Italian Tuna packed in olive oil

Dump beans into a colander placed into the sink, then rinse well with cold water until no more foam appears. Let beans drain while you mix dressing ingredients.

Mix together the lemon juice, peperoncini juice, green Tobasco sauce, and Spike seasoning. Whisk in the olive oil, then season dressing to taste with a little salt and fresh ground black pepper. (I used just a pinch of salt and about 1/4 tsp. coarsely ground black pepper.)

In a bowl large enough to contain all the salad ingredients, mix the drained beans with 2 T of the dressing mixture and let beans marinate while you prep other ingredients.

Cut stem end off peperoncini, remove seeds, then finely chop peperoncini and slice green onions. Chop tomatoes to make 1 cup diced tomatoes, then drain in a small colander if the tomatoes seem juicy. Wash parsley, spin dry or dry with paper towels, then chop enough parsley to make 1/2 cup. Drain oil from the tuna (I just do this by removing lid and using it to press out the oil) then use a fork to break up the tuna slightly in the can.

Add chopped peperoncini, sliced green onions, diced tomatoes, and chopped parsley to the bowl with the marinating beans, mix together, then toss with the remaining the dressing. (If you like your salads on the dry side, you may not need all the dressing, but I used it all.) Add the tuna and gently combine with other ingredients, season with more salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste, and serve.

The sandwich we made has artichoke, sundried tomato, pesto, and fresh mozarella. We put it on an Olive Oil bread from Giant Eagle. This has no actual recipe, just found the description on another blog about food. Super delicious!!

We also made Chicken Salad using a roasted chicken (from Giant Eagle - couldn't buy a chicken for that price and its already cooked!!), just a touch of lite mayo, celery, onion and sweet pickle relish. Of course salt and pepper to taste. Simple, easy and good.

Also made a homemade Angel Food Cake, these are cheaper and better to make at home rather than using the store bought. The store bought ones are sticky and expensive ~ the mix is $2 and takes little time of effort and the taste and texture is soooo much better!! Fresh strawberries and whip cream make for an almost healthy dessert :)

So that was this weeks fun. We probably should have grilled something but its too humid and we will be grilling ribs again on Father's Day. Until then happy cooking.

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