Tag Archives: grilling

Caprese Salad

I love May – October when the farmers markets are around and dread the other 6 months when there is none.  :o(  Saturday we went to the farmers market and bought this basil plant, some tomatoes and fresh mozzarella.  The hubs also got some applewood-smoked mozzarella, and can’t stop sniffing it.  ;o)  Yesterday, I made a Caprese Salad with my market finds and the kitchen smelled so good!  I learned something, though – when working with fresh mozzarella, let it sit in a strainer for a bit before adding to a recipe.  The tomato is not as bright in the salad, because there was so much white water released from the mozzarella after I tossed it in.  Oh, well.  And although a Caprese Salad is fabulous on it’s own, we went one step farther.

We made Giada De Laurentiis’ Grilled Portobello Mushrooms with Tomatoes and Fresh Mozzarella.  Just one, grilled portobello cap for each of us, topped with the Caprese Salad was enough to fill our bellies at dinner last night.  So delicious!  Now I know why people grill portobellos as hamburger replacements.  We will be having this dish several more times this Summer.

 

Recipe for My Creamy Spinach Pasta with Grilled Chicken

A couple of weeks ago I got a craving for some pasta with a creamy, spinach sauce and some grilled chicken on top.  Yesterday, I finally decided to make it for myself for lunch and it was delicious!  I usually make creamed spinach from scratch, but I didn’t have any fresh spinach in the house so I improvised.

1 clove of garlic, minced
1 tbsp of minced shallot
9 oz box of frozen, creamed spinach
Milk
Pepper and nutmeg to taste
Butter
Asiago cheese, freshly grated
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
You favorite pasta, cooked

I fired up my countertop grill/griddle with the grill plates, rubbed a little Wegmans Basting Oil onto the chicken breasts and grilled them for 4 minutes with the grill top down.  I put the frozen, creamed spinach in the microwave to thaw.

I heated 1/2 tbsp of butter into a small saucepan (you can use any kind of oil, instead, if you like) and sautéed the shallot for 5 minutes until very soft.  Then I tossed in the garlic and sautéed for another minute or two until the garlic was cooked (you can smell the difference) but didn’t brown.

Then I added in the thawed, creamed spinach and heated it up.  I added some 1% milk (you could also use heavy cream), probably about 1/2 cup, but you can add more or less to get the thin or thick consistency you want. Once the milk was heated through and I had the consistency I wanted, I turned off the heat and grated a palmful of Asiago cheese into the pan, stirring until it melted.  I just happened to have received a hunk of asiago cheese for Christmas, but you can use Parmesan, Romano, whatever you have.

Then I added pepper and nutmeg to taste.  I have the actual “nuts” and love grating some fresh nutmeg into spinach dishes and broccoli soups.  Mmmmm!  I have heard many TV chefs say that if you don’t have fresh nutmeg to grate into a dish, don’t bother putting any in, like the nutmeg in spice jars won’t add any benefit to a dish or will ruin it.  However, I am sure many generations of pie bakers out there would disagree!  ;o)

This made enough sauce for 3 servings of pasta.  I removed 2/3 of the sauce from the pan to a tupperware bowl to save for later, and added 1 portion of spaghetti (my pasta of choice) into the saucepan and mixed it in with the sauce.

I put the pasta with creamy spinach sauce in a bowl, topped it with half a chicken breast, sliced up, and then grated some more Asiago on top of the chicken.  Man, was it good!  And everything, including cooking the pasta, took less than 30 minutes; a perfectly doable lunch.

If you try this recipe, let me know what you think!

Grilled Bruschetta Chicken

Here’s another great recipe that my friend, Julia, shared with me – Grilled Bruschetta Chicken from Kraft Foods.  I declared it International Night in our house and made Grilled Bruschetta Chicken, guacamole and fried rice for dinner.  :o)  This chicken dish is easy and fast, a great last minute entree you can throw together in 30 minutes or less.  It’s so easy, that I don’t even follow the recipe measurements; I just eyeball and dump things together, depending on how many I’m cooking for.  So here we go…

You only need 5 ingredients: chicken, sun-dried tomato vinaigrette (or just Italian dressing if that’s what you’ve got), basil, fresh tomato and mozzarella cheese.  First, pour some dressing over the chicken.

While the chicken is marinating, wash and chop a tomato and fresh basil.
Combine chopped tomato, basil, mozzarella cheese and a squirt or two of dressing.

Heat an indoor or outdoor grill and place chicken on grill.  Now, the recipe says to cook the chicken breasts for 6 min on the 1st side and 8 min on the 2nd.  I buy the 10# bag of Perdue Perfect Portions Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts form Costco.  Each piece of chicken is fairly thin and weighs approx. 5 oz.  So I only need to cook them 3-4 minutes a side.

Flip the chicken breasts over, cover with your tomato/basil/cheese/dressing mixture and finish cooking. If you are cooking on an outdoor grill, flip the chicken over onto a piece of foil and then top with your mixture.  The foil will catch any topping from running off the chicken and going down into your grill.

TA-DA!  That’s it!

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