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Lemon-Thyme Milk-Braised Chicken with Spinach

If you like white meat on chicken you will like this dish.  I do not, but thought cooking in the milk would help.  Too me it was terribly dry.  Jim liked it.  The spinach tasted good, but was not what I expected.  I thought it would be like creamed spinach.  However the milk curdles, which I didn’t expect, and even whisking it, didn’t turn it into cream.  Possibly I did not have enough fat.  I did not use chicken with the skin on and a foot not on the recipe doesn’t say you have to.  This recipe is from Costco Connection magazine.  I had two chicken breasts leftover from the corn chicken soup, so we just had 2.  Jim didn’t eat lunch until 4:00 so he was not that hungry.  I made the full amount of spinach.  

Ingredients:

4 skin-on boneless chicken breasts (6-8 oz. each)

1/4 salt

1/2 t pepper

1 T EVOO

4 cloves garlic, smashed and peeled

1 1/2 C whole milk

8 fresh thyme sprigs

1 lemon 10 C packed spinach leaves

1/8 t grated nutmeg

Directions:

  1. With the oven rack in the middle, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In a large Dutch oven or ovenproof pot, heat the oil over medium-high heat.  Add the chicken, skin side down, and cook, untouched for 10-12 minutes.  Flip the chicken and cook for 2 minutes more.  Use tongs to transfer the chicken to a plate.  
  3. Add the garlic to the pot and cook, stirring, for 1 minute, or until golden brown. 
  4. Add the milk and thyme sprigs.  
  5. Using a vegetable peeler, peel wide strips of zest from the entire lemon and add to the pot.  
  6. Once the milk mixture begins to boil, add the chicken skin side up.Transfer to the oven and roast, uncovered, for about 25 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through.
  7. Divide the chicken among plates.  
  8. Place the pot on the stove over medium heat and simmer the sauce for 2 minutes, or until thickens slightly.  
  9. Discard the thyme sprigs.  
  10. .Add the spinach and cook, stirring for 2 minutes or until wilted.  
  11. Stir in the nutmeg.  
  12. Serve the spinach alongside the chicken.  Makes 4 servings.  

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Cod Bundles with Mushroom Ragout

Dinner was great.  If I could find two more people who would eat fish, I would definitely serve to company.  Today was supposed to be an easy day.  I just had tow meetings in the am and then I could do things I wanted to pursue.  Not to be.  It all started with Jim wanting me to pay the Visa bill.  Our bank went off line a couple of days as they were changing their system.  We spent 20 minutes on hold and another hour while they worked on the problem.  Finally we were in and able to do our banking.  Earlier in the day I had been working on Opera Guild things.  

I was very tired when I started this and cursing myself for scheduling this labor intensive meal.  But the more I did and the wonderful aromas changed my mood completely.

Ingredients:

2 bunches of Swiss chard (1 1/2# total)

6 T EVOO, divided

2 T chopped flat-leaf parsley

2 T chopped fresh thyme leaves, divided

1 T minced garlic, plus 2 roughly chopped cloves

Zest of 1 large lemon

1 t kosher salt, divided

1 t pepper, divided

4 skinned Pacific cod (each 6 oz and 3/4” to 1 1/2” thick)

1 C thinly sliced shallots

1/2# assorted mushrooms

3/4 chicken broth

Directions:

  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil.  Fill a large bowl with ice water and set aside. Choose 9 largest chard leaves and trim stems flush with base. (Save remaining Chard for another use.)  Thinly slice stems, cut 1 leaf into ribbons, and set both aside.  
  2. Cook remaining leaves in boiling water 1 minute, transfer to ice wanter; let cool.  Drain and spread out on kitchen towels.  
  3. Arrange 4 leaves horizontally on work surface, bumpy side up.  Arrange a second leaf on top of each, perpendicular to the first.  
  4. In a medium bowl, combine 3 T oil, parsley, 1 T thyme, minced garlic, lemon zest, and 1/2 t each salt and pepper.  Add fish and turn to coat.
  5. Set a fish piece at the base of each chard set.  Fold sides on leaves over fish, then roll to enclose.  Brush each bundle all over with 1 T oil.  
  6. Heat remaining 2 T oil in a large, deep frying pan over medium-high heat.  Sauté shallots until golden, 3 minutes.  
  7. Add chopped garlic and sauté 1 minute.  Add mushrooms, chard stems and ribbons, and remaining 1 T thyme and 1/2 t each of salt and pepper; sauté until mushrooms soften, 4-5 minutes.  Stir in broth and bring to a simmer.  
  8. Set chard bundles in pan and reduce heat to medium.  Cover tightly with lid or foil and cook until an instant read thermometer inserted horizontally into the center of fish reaches 115 to 120 degrees F, about 7 minutes.  (7 minutes and mine was there.)
  9. Transfer bundles to a wide soup plates and spoon mushrooms and pan juices around them.  

This recipe is from Sunset and serves 4.  We have one leftover as Jim only ate for 2.  Speaking of Jim the photo above is Jim in his tango outfit.  


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Baked Blintzes with Fresh Blueberry Sauce

Well I went through the rest of the week without cooking.  Wednesday was our Opera Guild wine and cheese party to attract new members.  We added about 5 that night and we have a few more potential members.  After it was over Jim, Joel, Barbara and I went to Coco’s Italian Restaurant for dinner.  Thursday Sandy and I went to The Clay Lady Studio for a progressive dinner and to admire the crafts being generated there.  Friday we had dinner of salmon burgers and salad.  Simple but good.  We then went to Friday dance party.  Saturday, as I finally got a grocery order together, I shopped for groceries and then went to the 3-5 dance performance at the theater on the Belmont University campus.  the star of the show was Jim.  He did the tango with Elizabeth and then he did a rock and roll number with Rachael.  He did a good job.  The show over all was boring.  I came home, dressed up and then we left of a late dinner at our dance club.  It was supposed to be Italian, but they changed it to Barbecue.  I hate barbecue as it is done around here.  But they had chicken along with the ribs and it was just cooked with salt and pepper.  They had two great salads and reasonable corn bread, so I survived.  

This morning I was awake before noon and wanted to forever make these Ina Garten blintzes with Blueberry sauce.  It doesn’t say how many it serves, but you could call it a company breakfast for at least 6.  We had a lot leftover, but I told Jim he could have it for dessert.  

Ingredients:

For the batter:

1 1/4 C milk

2 T sour cream (I use Greek yogurt)

4 T unsalted butter, melted

1 t vanilla extract

4 large eggs

1 1/3 C all purpose flour

2 T sugar

1 T baking powder

For the filling:

3 C (24 oz) ricotta cheese

8 ounces mascarpone cheese

2 large eggs

1/3 C sugar

2 T freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 T grated lemon zest

1/2 t vanilla extract

1 t kosher salt

For the blueberry sauce:

3/4 C freshly squeezed orange juice (3 oranges)  I forgot to buy, so I substituted apple juice.)

2/3 C sugar

1 T cornstarch

4 half-points fresh blueberries (I used frozen)

1 t grated lemon zest

1 T freshly squeezed lemon juice 

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Butter a 9” X 13” cake pan or baking dish.
  2. For the batter:  Place all ingredients in the jar of a blender.  Blend until smooth.  Pour half the batter into the prepared dish and bake for 10 minutes, until set.
  3. Meanwhile, make the filling:  Whisk together all the filling ingredients until thoroughly combined.  Spread the cheese filling over the baked pancake.  Carefully spoon the remaining pancake batter to cover the cheese.  
  4. Return the pan to the oven and continue baking for 35-40 minutes, until the top is lightly golden and the filling is almost set.  Remove from the oven and allow to stand 10-15 minutes.  
  5. For the topping:  combine the juice, sugar, and cornstarch in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally.  When the mixture is translucent and thickened, stir in the blueberries and simmer for 4-5 minutes, just until a few berries have burst but most are still whole.  ( with the frozen blueberries, it took a little longer.)  Stir in the lemon zest and lemon juice and cool.  
  6. Cut the blintzes in squares and serve warm with the blueberry sauce.  

It was very good.  i served it with bacon.  After Jim was finished, I spread the remaining sauce on top the leftover blintz and but it in the refrigerator.  I told Jim he could eat it for dessert.  


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Crepe Cannelloni

Sunday afternoon we both went swimming before the wind and rain arrived.  I then went in and made the following delicious recipe.  As I was making it Jim walked by and said, “That is a lot of food.” I replied that I was hoping for leftovers as Monday was going to be a busy day.  I had 6 leftover crepes from a previous dish in the freezer.   I also used white tortillas for the remaining crepes.  The crepes were impossible to got from the counter filled to the pan.  I preferred the tortillas or pasta as the dish usually is made with. 

Ingredients:

1 1/2 C packed grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

2 T flour

1/4 t freshly grated nutmeg

1/2 # each of ground pork, beef and Italian sausage (I asked the butcher to give me meatloaf mix.  This is what you get.   That way I didn’t have 1/2  pounds of left over meat to repackage.)

5 T unsalted butter

1 1/2 C whole milk

2 T freshly chopped Italian parsley; more for garnish

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

3 T EVOO

4 medium garlic cloves, minced

1 (28 oz.) can diced tomatoes

1# ricotta

12 (8” ) crepes (You can buy them in the produce section of most markets)

Directions:

  1. Place a rack in the center of the oven and heat to 375 degrees F.
  2. In a small bowl, combine 1 C of the Parmigiano with the flour and nutmeg.  
  3. Heat 2 T of the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add the meat, breaking it into small pieces and mixing the 3 meats together as it browns, about 10 minutes.  Drain off any excess fat, return the pan to the stove and reduce the heat to medium low.  
  4. Add the flour mixture and the milk to the meat, buying to a simmer, and cook stirring until the mixture is very thick with no excess liquid in the pan, about 10 minutes.  Add the parsley, and season to taste with salt, and pepper.  Set aside to cool.  
  5. Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat.  Add the garlic, and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.  Add the tomatoes and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixture comes to a simmer, about 10 minutes.  Stir in the remaining 3 T butter and season to taste with salt and pepper.  Remove the pan from the heat.  Using an emersion blender process to a smooth sauce about 1 minute.  
  6. Spread about 1/2 C of the tomato sauce over the bottom of a 9”X13” pan.  
  7. I laid all 12 crepes out and divided first the ricotta and then the meat filling across the center of each crepe.  Tis is approximately 2 T ricotta and 1/4 C of meat sauce.  
  8. Roll the crepes into logs and place seam side down in the pan.  
  9. Spread 3/4 C  of the remaining sauce over the top and sprinkle with remaining 1/2 C parmigiano.  
  10. Bake until the top is light golden brown, about 20 minutes.  
  11. Sprinkle with fresh parsley and serve hot, passing the remaining tomato sauce at the table.

This was a great dish and we had leftovers for Monday night.  There is even a lunch serving left.  This recipe comes from Fine Cooking and serves 6.


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Nouveau Tuna Wrap

I came home for lunch from my morning meetings to find out we had nothing.  This has got to be the most disgusting October day I have ever experienced.  It is hot, muggier than the worst summer day, and raining off and on.  I went to the Opera to set up for tomorrow’s wine and cheese event where we hope to entice some new members.  We are not sure if we will have 11 or 40 attendees.  It appears that RSVP is lost on people these days.  We were talking with the staff at the opera Saturday and One said, “It will be what it is.”  I liked that.  But, I worry.  

Back to lunch.  On the back of my WW magazine today was a Nouveau Tuna Wrap.  It was an add for Flatout Light Wraps.  At first I thought it was something you could buy.  No such luck.  It is messy to eat, but delicious.

Ingredients:

1 Flatout flatbread, Light Original (I had Italian)

3 oz canned tuna, drained

3-4 spears asparagus, blanched, chopped (I used a banana pepper)

3-4 cherry tomatoes, cut in quarters

1 t capers

1 hardboiled egg, cut in slices

1 t EVOO

1/2 lemon, juiced

1/2 t dijon mustard

Salt and freshly ground pepper

Directions:

  1. In a bowl, combine the asparagus, capers, tomatoes, tuna, lemon juice,Mustard and oil.  season with salt and pepper if desired.  
  2. To assemble the wrap, place the salad on the flatbread towards the rounded end Arrange the egg slices evenly over the salad.  Roll up, beginning at rounded end, and cut in half.  

This is a lunch sandwich for one.  I doubled the recipe, but quite frankly it was a lot of food.  The total is 6 WW points.  

 

Above is one of my favorite paintings in the museum.  


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