Friday, 29 November 2013

Baked Chili Honey Garlic Chicken Fingers

These are easy chicken fingers baked in the oven with a sweet, slightly spicy drizzle. Bake up some roasted sweet or regular potatoes for a fast food favorite made at home. You always know what is in it when you make it yourself!

You will need:

  • 2 chicken breasts cut into strips/fingers
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp chili paste or fresh red chili
  • 2 cloves garlic-crushed
  • 1/2 flour with salt and pepper
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup fresh finely grated Parmesan
  • 1 tsp fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 tsp fresh chopped cilantro




Step 1: make the sauce. In a small jar add honey, soy, chili paste and garlic. Shake to mix and set aside.


Step 2: slice chicken into fingers and then create a breading station. One bowl with flour, salt and pepper. One bowl with 2 eggs whisked. One plate with breadcrumbs, Parmesan, thyme and cilantro or you can add some ground flax seeds for some added fibre. Dip each piece of chicken into flour, then egg, then breadcrumbs. 


Step 3: place onto a baking sheet with a generous sprinkle of olive oil on bottom and also drizzled over chicken. Normally you would fry these so a bit of oil is necessary to brown the chicken in the oven. I also cook some sweet potato fries or regular fries on the pan. Make sure to coat in olive oil.


Bake in a 375 degree F oven for 20-30 minutes or until they are browned. You may need to keep the potatoes in for a bit longer to get them browned depending on how big you have made your slices. The smaller the slice the quicker they will bake. To serve drizzle over sweet sticky sauce!!




Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Individual Eggplant Parmesan


I love these served with pasta and vegetables or even as a burger substitute in a bun. They can be made and stored in the fridge and just topped and melted before serving which is also great for entertaining.

You will need:
  • 1 eggplant - sliced into thick slices - I got 12 from mine
  • 1 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1 cup Panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 tbsp Italian seasonings
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • olive oil to fry
  • tomato or meat sauce to top - a few tbsp over each
  • grated mozzarella cheese - about 1 cup
  • few chopped basil leaves


Step 1: slice into thick slices. I cut 12 from my eggplant. Sprinkle with salt on both sides and let sit for 10 minutes. Rinse and pat dry on paper towels.


Step 2: make the standard breading station. One plate will have breadcrumbs, Parmesan, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper. One bowl will have eggs whisked. One plate will have flour. Dip dried eggplant in flour, then eggs, then breadcrumbs. 


Step 3: add just enough oil to come up 1/4 of the eggplant slices. Once hot, pan fry the slices.


Step 4: Place on a baking sheet and cover with a bit of your favourite tomato sauce. Mine is just crushed tomatoes, garlic, olive oil, fresh basil, salt and pepper. (I don't even cook it) Top with cheese and fresh basil.


Step 5: bake in a 375 degree F oven until cheese is melted and slightly browned. If you prefer you can add your favourite meat sauce to the top for those carnivores in the house.









Monday, 18 November 2013

Spinach and Ricotta Gnudi


These gnudi are a ricotta and spinach Italian dumpling served with a simple tomato sauce. They are similar to a gnocchi but usually bigger and not with as much flour. 

You will need:
  • 170 gr/6 oz bag of washed baby spinach
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 small cloves of garlic - chopped fine
  • 1 cup ricotta - drained at least 1 hour
  • 1/2 fresh grated Parmesan cheese
  • salt/pepper
  • a few gratings of fresh nutmeg
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 4-6 tbsp flour (depending on how wet the ricotta is you may need  a bit more)
  • 2 tbsp breadcrumbs
  • your favourite tomato sauce
  • ,more Parmesan to serve

Step 1: Gather all your ingredients. Place ricotta cheese in a sieve to let water drain for at least 1 hour.


Step 2: in a large saute pan cook garlic in olive oil for 1 minute. Add spinach, salt and pepper and cook another 2 minutes until spinach is wilted and some of the water has cooked out. 


Step 3: let cool then place in a paper towels to squeeze out as much water as you can. Chop fine.


Step 4: add chopped spinach, drained ricotta, Parmesan cheese, salt, pepper, nutmeg, egg yolks, 4 tbsp flour, breadcrumbs and mix well. If it is too wet add the additional flour.


Step 5: I used a small ice cream scoop to form balls or you can use two tablespoons.  Make a test ball to see if you have added enough flour. All ricotta is different, if you have one that is very wet you may need some additional flour to your mix to make sure your gnudi hold together when you boil them. I always do a test one to see if it holds together. Boil until the gnudi floats, then taste it and see if it is too soft or if it requires more salt and pepper. Then boil all your gnudi until they float.


Step 6: carefully remove gnudi from water and place in a large pan with 3-4 tbsp of great olive oil and saute for a few minutes.


Step 7: add your favourite sauce and cook 1 more minute. I make my sauce by add garlic, salt and pepper, fresh basil and olive oil to crushed tomatoes.



Step 8: serve with more grated Parmesan and fresh bread!!


















Tuesday, 12 November 2013

10 Grain Bread


Have you ever read the ingredients on a package of store bought bread? You have to really search hard to find one without all those preservatives in your average grocery store. I make my own often because it tastes great and because I know exactly what it has in it...and more importantly what it doesn't!

I love homemade bread. I love the feel of the dough in my hands and I love the way the house smells. This bread is made with cooked cereal. You can try it with any cooked leftover cereal.

You will need:

  • 1/4 cup 10 grain cereal cooked for 10 minutes in 3/4 cup water - cooled
  • 1 cup warmed milk (in microwave 30 seconds)
  • 1 tbsp sesame seeds
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 2 tsp dry yeast
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 cup quick cooking oats
  • 3 cup all purpose or bread flour (you can add a bit more for kneading if necessary)
  • 1 tsp salt

Step 1: take cereal and place in a small pan.  Stir and cook for 10 minutes. Cover and let cool.


Step 2: in a large bowl add warmed milk (30 seconds in microwave), cooked cereal, sesame seeds, honey, yeast and olive oil. Let stand 10 minutes to activate yeast.


Step 3: add rolled oats and leave 5 minutes to soften. Add 2 cups flour and then the salt last. Stir with a wooden spoon in the bowl until it gets too stiff. Turn out contents on counter and add additional flour in small amounts kneading until the flour is absorbed. Knead the dough until it no longer feels sticky.


Step 4: let rise in a covered bowl in a warm place 2 hours.


Step 5: gently deflate on a counter with a sprinkle of flour and roll up. Place in an oiled pan and let rise 30-45 minutes. If you cover with plastic wrap make sure to oil the plastic or it will stick to the bread.



Step 6: bake in a 400 degree F oven 30-45minutes. You are looking for the loaf to be nicely browned on top. let cool.






Saturday, 9 November 2013

Greek Chicken Salad


A quick Greek inspired chicken salad. It is perfect for one and can easily be increased for more. Chop up some fresh vegetables and quickly saute some chicken in lemon and oregano for a tasty meal. The salad does not have amounts because you can add what you like, in the amounts you like and the dressing is a simple squeeze of lemon, a drizzle of olive oil, some red wine vinegar, salt and pepper. Toss and serve.


You will need: 

  • 1 chicken breast- chopped into small cubes
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 lemon zested and juiced
  • 1 tsp dry oregano
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • romaine lettuce
  • tomatoes
  • cucumbers
  • fresh basil
  • a few cubes of feta cheese
  • some olives
  • a few sliced onions
dressing
  • olive oil
  • lemon juice
  • a bit of red wine vinegar
  • salt and pepper

Step 1: chop chicken and place in a small bowl. Add garlic, lemon zest, lemon juice, oregano, salt,  pepper, olive oil and honey. Mix and set aside while you prepare salad.


Step 2: chop all your favourite vegetables and add to a bowl. Chop feta and have some fresh basil leaves ready for topping. Get your ingredients for the dressing ready or you can make it in a small jar. I use equal lemon and vinegar to oil. Pour over salad and adjust salt and pepper as you like it.


Step 3: saute your chicken until browned and cooked through.


Step 4: mix dressing in salad and plate. Top with feta, chicken and some basil leaves.



EASY!!