Tuesday

Baked Chicken and Artichokes

Spring is finally here an the longer daylight hours entice me to stay outdoors as long as possible. This recipe will take only 20 minutes (maybe less) in prep, and the rest is oven time.

If you're anything like me, you welcome a new way to prepare skinless and boneless chicken breasts. Of course, this will work with any cut of chicken (or turkey) but I like this recipe best for breast meat because it stays moist throughout the baking process.

I've been working on a few versions of this one so my friends and loved ones are about over chicken and artichokes by now.

The first version is one I read about in Epicurious magazine and I stayed close to the original recipe with a few variations (more garlic and the addition of red pepper flakes). The second version follows.

Aside from succulent chicken and an easy recipe, clean-up is a cinch. Happy Spring!

Time: 1 hour and 20 minutes
Level: Easy
Yield: Serves 4

Ingredients:

4 chicken breasts (skinless, boneless)
10 oz canned artichoke hearts or baby artichokes (approx. 3 per serving)
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1/3 cup Parmesan cheese
6 cloves garlic chopped
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
Parsley or basil for garnish

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Drain artichokes and reserve water.
Rinse chicken and place in a lightly oiled baking dish.
In a small mixing bowl combine mayonnaise, cheese, pepper flakes, garlic and 1/4 cup of the artichoke water. The consistency should be more like pancake batter than mayonnaise.
Spoon the mixture over the chicken, be sure to cover all the pieces.
Place artichokes on top of the chicken and bake for 1 hour or until the juices run clear.
Garnish and serve hot.

Variation: Replace Parmesan with feta cheese, mayonnaise with Greek yogurt and add 2 tbsp chopped kalamata olives. Garnish with lemon and parsley. 

Sunday

Fancy Apple Slaw

If you follow my Facebook or Twitter page, you might know that I picked up some apples from the farm to school  program and have been threatening to blog about them for some time. I do love the apples and the local program is blog-worthy by itself but this is a recipe blog so I'm stayng in my wheelhouse.

Unfortunately, the apple-a-day rule usually takes over and there are none left to incorporate into my recipes. This time I bought some fresh and made this to serve with a ladies lunch. Apple slaw is so easy and it takes very little time to prepare.  If you make coleslaw you probably noticed the absence of sugar. You wont need it, the apples and red pepper add all the sweetness you need. That pretty watermelon daikon added lots of color but was also peppery compliment to the slaw.

I hope you enjoy this one.


Time: 20 Minutes
Yield: 6 servings
Level: Easy

Tuesday

Struffoli

Ah, struffoli! This is a Neapolitan confection that consists mainly of bite-sized  balls of fried dough. Doesn't sound as festive as it looks, does it? It is though, these are those tasty little jewels on the holiday dessert table. When done right, they're not greasy, just a little crispy and light as air on the inside.

Years ago, after moving to the west coast, we tried to recreate them but over-worked the dough. Don't do that. Boy, were they tough! As with all dough, handle it as little as possible and follow the directions. You'll do fine. 

My cousin, Grace, makes struffoli every year and she was kind enough to take over the blog duties for me on this one. Count this among those recipes that are passed from one generation to the next. Grace's Aunt Lisa passed this one on to her. Many thanks for sharing! 



Time: 2 hours
Yield: Approx 24 individual cups
Level: Average

Wednesday

Sockeye Salmon Appetizer

CLose up image of two Sockeye salmon appetizers on a white plate garnished with dill and capers.with
What fun that Thanksgiving and the beginning of Hanukkah are converging this year! I feel so blessed to have been invited to a dinner where our backgrounds cross paths and we all get to break bread as thankful Americans.

Our hosts allowed as how this would be a traditional Thanksgiving menu but, when I was asked to bring appetizers, it seemed like I could be somewhat creative with a nod to a traditional Jewish meal of lox and bagels.

Instead of bagels (after all, this is an appetizer) I'm using small loaves of pumpernickel and rye because they are hearty, flavorful and firm -- even a thin slice doesn't require toasting.

With the bread choice solid, it was off to the Oregon Lox Company for some sockeye salmon, then to pick up some Nancy's cream cheese, another local specialty.


I've had something like this before, but never had a recipe so the day has been full of trial and error. Tasty trial and error, but still. Anyway, I think I've settled on a flavorful combo so I thought I would take a picture and share my recipe. The dill and capers are what set this apart. The shallots can be replaced with caramelized onions, but don't forget the capers. Seriously.

As I count my blessings this year, I'm wishing you the happiest of Thanksgiving and Hanukkah celebrations.    





Time: 20 minutes
Yield: 24 appetizers
Level: Easy

Monday

Tomato Cabbage Soup with Turkey

Tomato Cabbage Soup with Turkey served in a deep bowl and agrnished with parmesan cheese and fresh herbs.
A chill is in the air and that can only mean one thing; it's time for soup!

I say that like I enjoy a chill in the air (and soup). Actually, I'm not really crazy about either so I have to experiment with my favorite ingredients and hope for the best. I shouldn't be surprised that this one was popular -- anything with tomatoes, garlic and bacon usually doesn't last around here!

Not only does this one go together quickly, but the flavors of tomato, shallot, garlic and Italian seasonings are deceptive. It's a light soup with the taste of a bowl of pasta! In fact, this is a great way to use leftover sauce from Sunday dinner. If you do that, omit the tomato paste and additional herbs. In the spirit of full disclosure, I have to admit that the first time I made this, I tried a new (to me anyway) product from Progresso. They're called Recipe Starters and I tried the fire roasted tomato flavor. It was really good, but because it contains sugar, cream and wheat, it might not be right for everyone.

Of course there are a lot of variations, most notably without meat but I wanted to add the protein and make it a one-pot meal.

Time: 1 hour
Yield: Serves 8
Level: Easy