Barbecue Chicken Rococo

August 27, 2009

Chef’s Notes: Definitely file this one under “comfort food” not “gourmet.” The recipe originally appeared in The Complete Cheese Cookbook, copyright 1971, as a cheese-stuffed breaded chicken breast baked on a bed of rice mixed with onions, peppers, and mushrooms. (I don’t know why it was named rococo, which, according to Wikipedia, is “a style of 18th century French art and interior design.”) For my variation on this mysterious antique of a recipe, I omitted the rice, stuffed it with cheese, and coated it with Shake ‘n’ Bake BBQ Glaze. (Yes, Shake ‘n’ Bake. It’s one of the few processed foods that hasn’t been banned from my pantry.) Not the healthiest recipe on my blog, but it’s certainly tasty. šŸ™‚

Barbecue Chicken Rococo

Barbecue Chicken Rococo

Barbecue Chicken Rococo
Serves 4

4 large boneless skinless chicken breasts
4 oz. sharp Cheddar cheese, cut into 4 equal sticks
4 T. Shake ‘n’ Bake BBQ Glaze (or 2 T. Shake ‘n’ Bake and 2 T. dry ranch dressing mix)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Flatten each chicken breast to 1/4 inch thickness. Put BBQ Glaze on plate. Place one stick of cheese on each chicken breast and roll up, then roll in BBQ glaze. Put chicken breasts on foil-lined baking sheet and bake 30 minutes.


No Noodle Lasagna

August 23, 2009

Chef’s Notes: You won’t even miss the noodles in this lasagna that is full of veggies and bursting with authentic Italian taste. I was shocked at how good this was. šŸ™‚

No Noodle Lasagna | Fried Eggplant Sticks

No Noodle Lasagna | Fried Eggplant Sticks

No Noodle Lasagna
Serves 2 to 4

1 medium zucchini
1 hot Italian turkey sausage*
1 T. olive oil
1 T. minced garlic
2 T. onion, diced
2 T. bell pepper, diced
1/2 C. fresh mushrooms, sliced
1 1/2 C. spaghetti sauce
2 tsp. fresh basil
1/2 C. cottage cheese*
1/4 package of frozen spinach, thawed
2 T. fresh grated Parmesan
4 oz. mozzarella cheese
1 T. fresh parsley

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Layer one: Cut zucchini in half, then cut lengthwise into strips about 1/4 inch thick.

Layer two: Squeeze excess moisture from spinach. In a small bowl, combine spinach, cottage cheese, and Parmesan cheese.

Layer three: Cook the Italian sausage in a cast iron skillet. Remove from skillet, and coarsely chop until it resembles ground hamburger. Add olive oil to skillet and saute garlic, onions, and peppers. Add mushrooms and cook for about 2 minutes. Add spaghetti sauce, basil, and sausage and heat until just warmed through, about 2 or 3 minutes.

Layer four: Slice mozzarella cheese, and then coarsely chop with parsley until fine, but still coarser than shredded cheese.

Assemble: Layer half of zucchini slices in glass pie plate, or other small shallow baking dish. Spread half of cottage cheese mixture over zucchini. Cover with half of spaghetti sauce mixture. Sprinkle with the mozzarella/parsley mixture. Repeat layers.

Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour.

*You can use hot or sweet sausage, made from either pork or turkey – whatever you prefer.

*Make sure to use a cottage cheese with a dry consistency. (I like Michigan brand.) A cottage cheese with a moister consistency could make this runny because the zucchini is already adding quite a bit of moisture to the dish. As an alternative, use ricotta cheese.

This is the original recipe.

Pictured with Fried Eggplant Sticks.


Fried Eggplant Sticks

August 23, 2009

Chef’s Notes: I discovered cute little baby eggplants at the farmer’s market today, so I concocted this recipe to enjoy some of them. It’s nothing but a variation on fried eggplant. The chef who makes the best eggplant parm I’ve ever eaten told me that the key to good eggplant is soaking it in salt water, which removes the bitterness and makes it creamy.

Fried Eggplant Sticks | No Noodle Lasagna

Fried Eggplant Sticks | No Noodle Lasagna

Fried Eggplant Sticks
Serves 2 (about 8 sticks per person)

3 baby eggplants
1/4 cup flour
2 T. fine bread crumbs
1 tsp. fresh basil
1 egg
1/4 tsp. minced garlic
2 T. olive oil.
1 T. fresh grated Parmesan

Remove ends from eggplants and peel. Cut into sticks about the diameter of your pinky finger, about 6 sticks per eggplant. Combine about 3/4 cup water and 1 tsp. salt in a bowl and add eggplant. Let soak for at least an hour. Rinse the eggplant and blot dry with paper towels.

Heat olive oil over medium-high heat in a cast iron skillet.

Combine flour, bread crumbs, and basil in a shallow dish or on a plate. In a small bowl, whisk egg and garlic. Dip eggplant sticks, a few at a time, in egg mixture, then flour mixture, and place in skillet. Cook, turning frequently, until brown and crispy. When the sticks are almost done, sprinkle with Parmesan cheese, and cook until cheese is melted.

Serve with warm spaghetti sauce.

Pictured with No Noodle Lasagna.


Deviled Drumsticks

August 19, 2009

Chef’s Notes: I’m always looking for interesting things to do with chicken. This sounded easy, and I liked all of the ingredients, so I thought I’d try it. Good, but definitely not great. My biggest complaint was that nothing blended. There were crunchy breadcrumbs, and a tangy mustard sauce, and a chicken drumstick, but it didn’t come together as a whole. I’m not sure what to change, so I’m not sure I’d make this again.

Deviled Drumsticks | Spaghetti Squash with JalapeƱo Cream

Deviled Drumsticks | Spaghetti Squash with JalapeƱo Cream

Deviled Drumsticks
Serves 4

2 T. Dijionnaiase (or 1 T. mayonnaise and 1 T. dijon mustard)
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1/2 C. bread crumbs
1 tsp. fresh chives
Dash fresh ground sea salt
Dash fresh ground pepper
4 chicken drumsticks

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Coat a small baking sheet with a thin layer of olive oil.

Combine Dijionnaise and Worcestershire sauce in a medium bowl. Mix together bread crumbs, chives, salt, and pepper in a separate medium bowl. One by one, dip each drumstick in mayonnaise mixture, turning to coat. Then dip the drumstick in the breadcrumb mixture, turning to coat. Place the drumsticks on the prepared roasting pan.

Bake chicken for 30 to 45 minutes, turning once.

This is the original recipe.

Pictured with Spaghetti Squash with JalapeƱo Cream.


Spaghetti Squash with JalapeƱo Cream

August 19, 2009

Chef’s notes: When you’re trying to cook low carb, anything that sounds like pasta is intriguing! I hoped that this would taste like a spicy mac-n-cheese but, unfortunately, it didn’t. It was, however, what the title suggested – squash with a spicy cream sauce. (Knowing that, if I made it again, I would use the milder Jack cheese the original recipe suggested.) It was tasty and it was unique. But I’m not sure it’s a keeper.

Spaghetti Squash with JalapeƱo Cream | Deviled Drumsticks

Spaghetti Squash with JalapeƱo Cream | Deviled Drumsticks

Spaghetti Squash with JalapeƱo Cream
Serves 4

1 T. butter
1 T. flour
Dash of fresh ground sea salt
3/4 C. milk
1 T. minced jalapeƱo
1 1/2 C. cooked spaghetti squash
1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place squash in buttered 1-qt. casserole.

In a small saucepan, melt butter. Whisk in flour and salt and cook, whisking, until flour smells cooked (like piecrust). Slowly pour in milk while whisking. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, whisking constantly, then turn heat down to medium. Add jalapeƱo and continue whisking until mixture thickens. Pour mixture over squash.

Bake for 20 minutes. Sprinkle with cheese and bake an additional 10 minutes.

This is the original recipe.

Pictured with Deviled Drumsticks.


Creamy Baked Peaches

August 18, 2009

Chef’s Notes: Peach cobbler with cream is one of my favorite desserts, and peach season always gets me thinking about it. But, I wondered, is there a way to enjoy those flavors, without all the pastry and sugar? Yes, there is, I discovered when I created this yummy recipe!

Creamy Baked Peaches | Oven-baked Frittata with Mushrooms and Bacon

Oven-baked Frittata with Mushrooms and Bacon | Creamy Baked Peaches

Creamy Baked Peaches
Serves 2

1 fresh peach
1/2 cup cottage cheese*
1 T. honey
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
2 T. walnut pieces
Fresh mint

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Peel peach, cut in half, and remove pit. Place peach halves in small shallow baking dish. Combine cottage cheese, honey, and cinnamon; scoop onto peach halves. Bake 15 minutes. Garnish with walnuts and mint.

Pictured with Oven-baked Frittata with Mushrooms and Bacon

*All cottage cheeses are not created equal. Some are moist, some dry, some salty, some sweet. I used Michigan Brand cottage cheese, which is quite dry and slightly sweet. I don’t know how this recipe would work with a cottage cheese of a different consistency and/or flavor. Ricotta could be substituted.

As an alternative, slice or dice the peaches rather than leaving whole, and substitute real maple syrup for the honey. Bake, and then use as a topping for a whole wheat waffle.


Oven-baked Frittata with Mushrooms and Bacon

August 18, 2009

Chef’s Notes: This isn’t a very original recipe, I must admit. Combine the ideas of frittata, omelet, quiche, and shirred eggs…and you’ll come up with something like this. Simple and flavorful, it’s a great idea for a comforting sleep-in-Saturday breakfast. You can use any combination of herbs, cheese, meat, and veggies that you would like.

Oven-Baked Frittata with Bacon and Mushrooms |  Creamy Baked Peaches

Oven-Baked Frittata with Mushrooms and Bacon | Creamy Baked Peaches

Oven-baked Frittata with Mushrooms and Bacon
Serves 2

2 T. butter
4 eggs
2 T. milk
1/2 tsp. fresh chives
1/2 tsp. fresh thyme
1/4 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
1 cup fresh mushrooms, sliced
4 slices bacon

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Melt butter in 8-inch glass pie plate. Break eggs into pie plate; drizzle milk over eggs. Swirl slightly so that egg yolks are broken, but not so much that it’s scrambled. Sprinkle with herbs. Bake 15 minutes.

While eggs are baking, cook bacon in cast iron skillet. Drain well on paper towels. Place mushrooms in bacon grease for about one minute, until just slightly cooked.

Remove eggs from oven. Cover with cheese, mushrooms, and bacon. Cut in half and serve.

Pictured with Creamy Baked Peaches.