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Monday, April 11, 2011

Roasted Tomato And Garlic Cheese Spread

This is a recipe everyone always asks for after they try it. It is fast, easy, and delicious. I roast my own tomatoes, but if I am in a rush I use the following recipe. If you want to roast tomatoes; buy 2 or 3 roma tomatoes, slice thinly and season with kosher salt, fresh black pepper and 2 tsp extra virgin olive oil. Lay on a baking sheet in an even layer. Roast at 350 for about 30 minutes, or until tomatoes soften and start to brown around edges. Add to food processor with other ingredients.

8 oz Cream Cheese (full fat or light) at room temperature
4 oz Goat Cheese (at room temperature)
5 Cloves Fresh Garlic
1 3oz bag Julienne Sun Dried Tomatoes (smoked if you can find them)They are usually in the produce section
1/2 tsp Kosher Salt
5 or 6 Grinds Fresh Black Pepper

Place garlic in food processor, chop finely. Add cheeses, and mix until blended. Add tomatoes and season with salt and pepper. Serve with crackers, vegetables, on a sandwich, on top of grilled steak or chicken. Use your imagination, it's great on everything. Enjoy!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Tunisian Roasted Cauliflower

1 Head Organic Cauliflower
1 Medium Onion-Organic (Red, Yellow, Vadalia-whatever you prefer)Slice in half and slice thinly
2 Cups Medium Diced Organic Carrots
1 tsp Garlic Powder
2 tsp ground cumin
1/2-1 tsp Red Pepper Flakes
2 tsp Kosher Salt + 1/2-1 tsp to toss with cauliflower after it is roasted
1 tsp Tumeric
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 TBSP Smoked Paprika
1 tsp ground Ginger
1/3 Cup Fresh Chopped Italian Parsley (washed/dried in salad spinner)
1/4 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil + 1-2 TBSP to use after cauliflower is roasted
1 Fresh Lemon

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Remove core from cauliflower, cut into bite size pieces (not too small). Wash in cold water and drain. In a large mixing bowl, toss cauliflower, carrots, and onions with olive oil.
After you toss veggies in olive oil, add garlic powder, cumin, red pepper flakes, salt, turmeric, ginger, paprika, and cinnamon. Toss veggies with seasoning until thoroughly coated.

On a baking sheet (either lined with parchment or sprayed with pan spray), spread veggies out flat. Do not over crowd veggies, they will steam and not roast if they are crowded on pan. You may need to use two sheet pans depending on the size of your pans.

Roast veggies in oven for 15 minutes, gently move veggies around on pan with a spatula.
Continue to roast for another 15 minutes, stir veggies around again. Check to see if they are tender. Veggies are done when tender and some of the veggies are golden in color. Depending on your oven, this will take 30-45 minutes.

I use a convection oven for all my cooking so, this recipe takes about 30 minutes in my oven. If you are using a conventional oven, it will take a little longer.

When veggies are done, remove from pan and place in a large mixing bowl. Season to taste with additional olive oil, fresh lemon juice, and salt.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Rotisserie Chicken Salad

This is for Steph White.  She was upset about Rotisserie Chicken Salad she purchased at a local grocery store.  The list of ingredients was long & most were unrecognizable.  If you can't pronounce the ingredient or don't know what it is, don't buy it.  Here is a tip: if you are going to buy an item from the deli, ask the clerk to print the ingredient label from the scale before you buy it.  You would be surprised what's in some of that stuff!! 

I created this chicken salad recipe while working at D'Amico & Sons in Minneapolis.  I was working with D'Amico & SUPERTarget at the time, they were looking for ways to utilize leftover rotisserie chicken meat.  This salad become so popular in the 23 stores it was sold in, they couldn't keep up with it.  They were roasting chickens just to make the salad!

It is easy and DELICIOUS.  Be sure you read the ingredient label on the rotisserie chicken before you bring it home!  Enjoy.

Be sure you allow meat to cool before making salad

2 1/2 pounds Rotisserie Chicken Meat (you can use all white or white & dark)
2 Cups Mayonnaise
2 TBSP Fresh Lemon Juice
1 tsp Freshly Ground Black Pepper
1 TBSP Lemon Pepper (with salt, if using salt free, you will need to adjust salt to your taste)
3/4 Cup Diced Red onion
3/4 Cup Diced Celery (wahsed & dried)
2 TBSP Fresh Chopped Garlic
3 TBSP Chopped Italian Parsley (washed & dried)

Remove skin from chicken and discard.  Pick chicken meat into chunks.  I like it chunky, if you prefer it shredded pull pieces by hand.

In mixing bowl, combine mayo, lemon juice, black pepper, lemon pepper, and garlic.  Whisk ingredients together.  Gently fold in remaining ingredients. 

Serve on top of mixed greens or on a croissant or toasted ciabatta bread with lettuce and tomato!!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Whole Grain/Reduced Sugar Chocolate Chip Cookies

These cookies have reduced sugar, wheat germ, and wheat flour.  My kids love them.  This recipe makes 18 cookies (average size).  I use all organic ingredients, free range eggs, & fair trade organic chocolate chips. Enjoy!

Chocolate Chip Cookies
Preheat oven to 350. 

1 Stick Unsalted Butter (8 TBSP)
1/4 Cup Brown Sugar
1/4 Cup Granulated Sugar
1 Large Egg
1 tsp Vanilla
1/2 tsp Baking Soda
1/4 tsp Table Salt
1 Cup Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
1/2 Cup Whole Wheat Flour
1/2 Cup All Purpose Flour
1/2 Cup Wheat Germ

In a small pan, melt butter.  In mixer, cream together sugars, butter, egg, vanilla, baking soda, and salt (about 2 minutes).  In a separate bowl, mix wheat and all purpose flours, and wheat germ.  You can mix with a fork or a whisk, this will work as if you were using a sifter. Add flour mixture to mixing bowl with wet mixture.  Add in 3 batches, scraping sides of bowl in between with a rubber spatula.  When all flour mixture is incorporated, add chocolate chips. 

Drop cookies on baking sheet with cookie dough baller or tablespoon, 9 per pan.  Bake for 3-4 minutes and rotate pan in oven.  Cook for another 3-4 minutes.  My kids like their cookies a little doughy so, I pull them out when they are golden on edges and light in the middle.  You can adjust your baking time.  If you like them crisp, cook for an additional 3-5minutes.  Remove from oven, allow to rest for one minute, remove from pan and place on cooling rack. 

Monday, January 31, 2011

Panko Chicken Fingers with Russett Fries

Well here is one my kids go CRAZY for!  My 9 year old is the pickiest eater ever!  It's super easy and fresh, it also is free of all the chemicals and other garbage the big companies put in their chicken tenders/nuggets. 

"Breadcrumb Ranch Chicken" (that's what my boys call this)
1-1 1/4  pounds Fresh Chicken Breasts (washed and sliced into 4 strips)
1 1/2 cup Plain Panko Bread Crumbs (brands I like; Trader Joe's, Kroger Private Selection, Kikkoman)
1/2 tsp Garlic Powder
1 tsp Kosher Salt
Fresh Ground Black Pepper (6-8 grinds)
1/2 cup Ranch Dressing (I like Bolthouse Farms Yogurt Ranch or Marie's Yogurt Ranch Dressing-available in produce department)
2 TBSP Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  I use a convection oven.  Line baking sheet with parchment paper or spray with pan spray if not using parchment (don't use foil! the aluminum leeches into your food!)

Wash and drain chicken, slice into 4 or 5 strips.   In a large mixing bowl combine panko, garlic powder, salt, and pepper.  In separate bowl combine chicken with ranch dressing.  Coat all pieces evenly with ranch.  With dry hand, place chicken strips in panko, 1 piece at a time and coat evenly with panko (you leave one hand dry and one wet).  Place on baking sheet, do not crowd chicken on pan-leave room between pieces.  Use remaining breadcrumbs on top of chicken pieces, press down to coat.  Drizzle chicken with extra virgin olive oil. 

Bake in convection oven for 18-22 minutes, conventional oven for 25-30 minutes.  Chicken should have some golden brown spots on them and be cooked to 170 degrees internally. 

Serve with ranch, BBQ sauce, honey mustard!  I like to squeeze fresh lemon juice on strips.

Russett Fries
3 Russett Potatoes (about 2-2 1/4 pounds)
2 tsp Kosher Salt
5-6 grinds Fresh Black Pepper
3 TBSP Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Scrub potatoes in cold water with a vegetable brush.  You can remove skins or leave on.  Slice potatoes in 1/2.  Slice into even strips, about 1/2" wide.  Place sliced potatoes into large bowl,  toss with olive oil.  Add salt and pepper and toss potatoes again.  Line sheet pan with parchment paper or spray pan with pan spray if not using parchment, lay potatoes flat on sheet pan.  Do not crowd potatoes on pan, leave space between potatoes.  bake in oven for 15-20 minutes, flip potatoes over and continue to bake for 12-18 minutes.  Fries should be golden brown & tender. 

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Grandma Mary's Chicken Soup (aka Tuscan Chicken Soup at D'Amico & Sons)

In honor of my Grandma Mary who passed away yesterday I would like to share this recipe.  I have been eating this soup as long as I can remember.  My Grandmother's version did not have heavy cream in it or zucchini and yellow squash, but when I started making it at D'Amico & Sons in 1997 I added these elements (you can go either way).  My Grandma would sometimes use cooked white rice in place of the acini de pepe pasta.  If you don't feel like cooking chicken, you  can also pull the meat off of a rotisserie chicken and use it in the soup.  It may seem lengthy in ingredients, but it is quick and fantastic.  All my ingredients are organic.  At one point at D'Amico & Sons I was making 80 gallons every day and I couldn't keep up with it!  It has been on the D'Amico menu since 1997, if you live in Minnesota and eat at D'Amico & Sons, you know this soup!  Thank you Grandma.

Grandma Mary's Chicken Soup (Tuscan Chicken Soup)
1-1 1/4  pounds chicken breasts (washed in cold water)
1 medium Yellow Onion (medium dice)
4 ea Carrots (peeled, washed, and medium dice)
4 Stalks Celery (washed and medium diced)
1 ea Zucchini (washed and medium diced)
1 ea Yellow Squash (washed and medium diced)
3 cloves Fresh Garlic (chopped finely)
1 tsp Dried Oregano
1 tsp Dried Basil
1/2 Cup Heavy Cream (optional)
2 TBSP + 1 tsp (to coat raw chicken with before cooking) Extra Virgin Olive Oil
28 0z can Crushed Tomatoes (Muir Glen Organic or i like Pomi strained tomatoes in aseptic box-26 oz container, cans have BPA in the lining)
5 Cups Chicken Stock
Kosher Salt-to taste
Fresh Ground Black Pepper -to taste
2 Cups Cooked Acini de pepe pasta (cooked according to package directions) Available at Kroger, Cub Foods, Wegman's

Preheat oven to 375.  Wash and drain chicken breasts, toss in 1 tsp olive oil.   Season with 1/4 tsp kosher salt and  3 grinds of fresh black pepper.  Lay flat on baking sheet (if using parchment paper, no need to spray pan-if no parchment spray pan) and cook for 15-20 minutes, until internal temperature of thickest piece is 170 degrees.  Remove from oven and let rest for 15 minutes. 

In a large pot while chicken is cooking add 2 TBSP olive oil and saute onions, celery, and carrots over medium high heat for 8-10 minutes.  Add zucchini, yellow squash, and garlic.  Saute until tender about 4-6 minutes.

Add chicken stock, tomatoes, basil, oregano.  Pull chicken breasts apart by hand into bite size pieces, add to soup.  Simmer soup for 20-30 minutes, vegetables should be tender.  Season with salt and pepper.  Add heavy cream if using and allow to simmer for 6-8 minutes. 

Note on seasoning; depending on what type of chicken stock you use and the amount of salt it contains, you will need to adjust the flavor to your liking. 

Note on cutting vegetables; you don't have to perfectly cut vegetables, this isn't culinary school!  Just try to keep all the veggies about the same size dice.  It's just soup!

Serving: place soup in bowl with desired amount of acini de pepe or white rice.  Top with grated Parmiggiano Reggiano or Pecorino Romano Cheese! 

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Mediterranean Meal

Greek style Chicken and Roasted Veggies
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts (diced into large pieces)
2 Bell peppers (diced into 1/2 inch pieces)
1 large onion (diced into 1/2 inch pieces)
1 # baby potatoes (red, yellow, fingerling)

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 TBSP garlic powder
1 1/2 TBSP smoked paprika
1 TBSP dried oregano
1 tsp red pepper flakes
2 tsp cumin
2tsp kosher salt

In a large bowl toss chicken and veggies in olive oil.  Add seasonings and toss again.  Cook chicken on 1 sheet pan and veggies on another (chicken will cook quicker than veggies).  Do not crowd veggies or chicken on pan, lay flat on pan.  If needed use 2 pans for veggies.  Roast in 375 degree oven for 10-15 minutes for chicken, and 25-30 minutes for veggies (depending on your oven!)  All of my cooking is done in a convection oven, if  you are using a conventional oven you need to adjust cooking time.  Check veggies after 15 minutes and move around on pan with spatula.  When all ingredients are cooked combine in a bowl with juice from 1 lemon.

Serve with hummus, harissa, pita bread, tabouli, cucumber feta salad (see recipes below)

Harissa (Tunisian Hot Sauce)
1 TBSP Fennel Seeds
1TBSp Coriander Seeds
4 cloves garlic
12 oz jar roasted red peppers (drained & rinsed)
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 TBSP agave syrup or sugar
2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 tsp kosher salt

Toast fennel & coriander seeds in pan over medium heat, until they start to become fragrant (about 30-45 seconds).  Place in food processor.  Add garlic (unpeeled) to pan with 1 TBSP of olive oil.  Toast in pan until golden, about 2-3 minutes.  Remove from pan and let sit until you can handle.  Peel skins off of garlic.  Chop in food processor with seeds.  Add roasted peppers and puree.  Add sugar, salt, red pepper flakes.  Drizzle in olive oil.  Store in glass jar in fridge.


1 can chick peas (reserve 1/2 cup of liquid)
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
3-5 cloves garlic
2tsp cumin
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1tsp kosher salt
1/2 cup tahini
5 TBSP extra virgin olive oil

In food processor chop garlic, add drained chick peas.  Scrape down sides of bowl.  Add tahini, cumin cayenne, salt, 1/2 cup liquid from chick peas, puree ingredients.  Scrape down sides of bowl.  Drizzle in olive oil and lemon juice.  Store in glass jar in fridge.  You can add roasted red peppers, feta cheese, artichokes, olives-whatever you like to recipe.

Tomato Cucumber Salad
1 English Cucumber (washed, sliced in half lengthwise and then into 4 strips, dice into 1/4" pieces)
1 pint grape tomatoes (washed/dried)
2 cloves garlic (chopped)
1/4 cup Fresh Italian Parlsey (washed, dried(salad spinner works best), chopped)
1/4 cup red onion (small dice)
1/2 cup crumbled or diced feta cheese
2 TBSP fresh lemon juice
3TBSP Extra Virgin Olive oil
2 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp kosher salt
fresh ground black pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients in large bowl and gently fold together.  Serve immediately.