“Listen to the mustn'ts, child. Listen to the don'ts. Listen to the shouldn'ts, the impossibles, the won'ts. Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me... Anything can happen, child. Anything can be.” - Shel Silverstein

Thursday, March 22, 2012

The Glamorous Gourmet - Shish-Kabowls!

I was on a quest recently for a nice stuffed pepper recipe. My hubbykins had been asking me to try one. Well there are *so many* out there I couldn't choose! I didn't want to make them in the crock pot because I hate soggy peppers and I wasn't sure baking would be any better. I love grilled peppers. Like when hubby makes shish-kabobs. I love shish-kabobs, but the beef is so expensive, we haven't had them in the longest. The only beef I keep around is a couple roasts and ground beef. Which incidentally is the main ingredient in most stuffed pepper recipes...and some how my mind jumped from here to Shish-kabowls! 

Mix This In A Bowl:
2lbs Ground Beef
1 Packet Onion Soup Mix
1/4 cup Worcestershire Sauce

Cook It In A Skillet With This:
1 cup Dales Seasoning (just pour it over top don't mix)
1/2lb Bacon cut into 1 inch sections

Cook this as you would taco meat breaking up the beef chunks, until it is cooked through. Drain and return to the pan and cook an additional 5 minutes to improve the texture of the bacon. Then transfer it to a large bowl 

And Add:
1 Medium Onion (chopped)
1 Large or 4 Roma Tomatoes (diced)

Mix it up and use it to stuff the peppers. If you halve the peppers or use a small variety these can be finger food. Top each pepper with several Sliced Baby Portabello Mushrooms and grill the bowls for 10 or so minutes until the peppers are tender but still crisp.

The Glamorous Gourmet - Chicken Bellagio

I had this dish at The Cheesecake Factory and I loved the taste and texture so much I was searching the web for a recipe before I finished eating! I came across a recipe here at RecipeLink and it was perfect! I left out the arugula because my husband isn't fond of course greens... I may try to convert him because it does add a certain something flavor-wise to the dish. I have done nothing but crave this all week, but alas I only bought enough of the specialty ingredients to try it once! I won't be making that mistake again...

By way of tips I have these:
1) Fillet your chicken breasts (even if you plan to pound them) you'll get twice as many but they are thin enough to cook through without burning the coating.
2) Use a meat thermometer so that you don't cook the chicken any longer than is necessary. This keeps it moist.
3)Make sure you have plenty of the Garlic Pesto. Even if you don't use it all you can store it in the fridge, but you need more than one recipe worth if you're going to make more than 6oz of pasta and who can feed a family with 6oz of pasta?? If you're lazy or on a budget basil pesto in a jar works just fine. I prefer Classico brand, but that's just me:)
4) Prosciutto is expensive, $14 a pound at my local supermarket. So to keep costs down order it from the deli by the slice. I ordered 10 slices cut very thin and paid $1.29. Of course if you shop for the month you may want get more. I'll be ordering 3 packs of 10 instead of one next month and freezing the other two. Of course I may be going out to get more this weekend     so I can make this again NOW! LOL
5)I did not use the nuts and it still tasted perfect.

So with all that in mind, here's the recipe! Enjoy!

CHICKEN BELLAGIO(Cheesecake Factory copycat recipe)

1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, packed
2 Tbsp. freshly grated Parmesan-Reggiano or Romano cheese
2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp. pine nuts or walnuts (optional)
1 or 2 garlic cloves, minced or microplaned or grated
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper

2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
4 slices Prosciutto, room temperature

1 large egg, beaten
1/4 cup flour
3/4 cup bread crumbs
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
1 tsp. dried parsley
1 tsp. oregano

4 Tbsp. olive oil or enough to coat bottom of pan with 1/4 in. of oil

6 oz. angel hair pasta
2 Tbsp. garlic pesto sauce

1 cup heavy (whipping) cream
3 Tbsp. garlic pesto sauce
1/3 cup Parmsan-Reggiano
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. white pepper

1 cup washed arugula
half a cup of shredded or grated fresh parmigiana regianno

To prepare the garlic basil pesto, add all of the ingredients for the pesto to a food processor and pulse until well blended; set aside.

Pound out the chicken breasts one at a time in between two pieces of plastic wrap or in a ziploc bag until flattened out evenly.

In a bowl, mix salt, pepper, oregano, and parsley into the bread crumbs to season.

Coat the breasts in flour, and then dip in the beaten egg, and then into the seasoned bread crumbs. Coat completely flipping the breasts over a few times to completely coat. Refrigerate the breasts on a plate for 15 minutes, uncovered, to get the seasoned bread crumbs to really stick. Remove the Prosciutto from the fridge and allow to reach room temperature for ease of separation.

5Boil the pasta in salted water until done, about 10 minutes. Reduce heat to low until needed.

To prep the parmesan cream sauce, add heavy cream to a saute pan and bring the cream to a simmer, and incorporate the basil pesto. Add salt and white pepper to taste, and as it begins to thicken, add the parmesan cheese and stir vigorously to incorporate it. Continue to stir until it thickens more. Reduce heat to low to keep warm.

Preheat oven to 200 degrees F.

Heat a non stick or well seasoned cast iron skillet over medium low to medium heat. Add olive oil and fry the breasts on the first side until golden brown, about 3 minutes. Using tongs, dip each slice of Prosciutto into the hot oil for 10 to 15 seconds, and then place on each chicken breast (2 for each breast, overlapped). Use a thermometer to insure perfect doneness of the breasts. (I pull mine at internal temp of 150F). Place on plate in oven to keep warm.

Drain the pasta and place in a large bowl. Stir in garlic basil pesto. Place the pasta on a plate. Pour some of the cream sauce over the pasta. Add the chicken breasts with the Prosciutto slices facing upwards. Top the breasts with more cream sauce. Top with arugula. Drizzle the arugula with some extra virgin olive oil.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Home Sweet Home - Finally Banish Kool-Aid Stains!

This tip was so amazing I had to share it *with* pictures! I had stains on my rug for as long as I can remember, and with six kids they multiplied regularly. I'm so thankful I ran across this info on LilDuckDuck.com 

"Mix equal amounts of ammonia and hot water. Spray the stain. Take a towel and place over the stain. Go over the towel with an iron on its highest setting and watch the stain transfer! It was amazing. I did this 5 or 6 times over the stain and it was gone. It was an old stain too! Test in an area first." 

So here is the stain I chose to document for proof that this works
 Here it is half gone
 Almost there!
 My poor rag that caught the stain... But on the up side it washed completely away in the laundry :)
 No more Kool-Aid! I also promptly went over my rug with my rug cleaner to clean the whole thing and suck up the stinky ammonia :p
I also would like to add that you're going to want to open the window (and doors!) and throw a fan on because this is quite noxious. I should have expected it, I mean ammonia is pungent as it is and we are heating it up and turning into a vapor, but it caught me off guard. So I'm sharing a heads up :)