Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Quick Crispy Chicken Cutlets

This recipe comes from Home for Dinner with Jamie Deen.  It's an easy recipe, 4-6 servings. 
About 1 hour and 30 minutes of prep and cooking.

Quick Crispy Chicken Cutlets


(4) 9-oz boneless, skinless, chicken breasts split OR (8) Chicken Cutlets


Lay the chicken out on a cutting board. Hold your knife parallel to the cutting board and slice the chicken breasts in half so one breast is now two cutlets. Lay the chicken between two sheets of plastic wrap and pound out with a meat mallet to 1/4-inch thickness. Sprinkle them on both sides with salt and pepper.

Set out three casserole dishes and add the flour to the first. Whisk together the mustard and eggs in the second. Mix together the panko, Parmesan, lemon zest and some salt and pepper in the third.

Dredge each cutlet first through the flour, then in the egg mixture and finally in the panko mixture. Put the chicken pieces on a clean baking sheet and refrigerate for 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F.

Heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet. Once hot, add the cutlets, in batches, and cook for 3 minutes on each side. Remove to paper towels to drain and season again with salt. Put the chicken pieces on a clean baking sheet and place in the warm oven while you cook the second batch.

Serve the cutlets with avocado and lemon wedges.

Fish Tacos with Cod

Tacos have been part of Mexico's culinary heritage for well over a hundred years. These folded tortillas can be stuffed with any number of fillings—with each Mexican state claiming stake to their own. Fish tacos are said to come from Baja California, Mexico's northernmost state. While the original fish taco was made with deep-fried fish, this recipe—made with sautéed fish—is a delicious and fresh version. This recipe is easily doubled, which makes it a great dish to make when entertaining a crowd.


1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
About 1 1/2 cups red wine vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons ancho chile powder  **
1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 cup lightly packed fresh cilantro leaves, chopped, plus more for garnish
1 jalapeño, stemmed and chopped
1 pound flaky white fish (such as mahi mahi or cod), cut into 4 pieces
8 fresh corn tortillas
Mexican crema, *** (Substitute a big dollop of sour cream with 1-2 Tablespoons of buttermilk)
Fresh Tomato Salsa
2 limes, cut into quarters

** Ancho chili powder is not very spicy, so you don't need much crushed red pepper to match the heat. For a recipe that calls for 1 teaspoon ancho chili powder, substitute 1 teaspoon regular chili powder AND 1/8-1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper.

*** Homemade Mexican Crema by Patrick Calhoun / Mexican Please

This is an easy way to make a homemade batch of delicious, tangy Mexican Crema. 

1 cup heavy cream
1 Tablespoon buttermilk
1/2 lime
pinch of salt
Slightly warm 1 cup heavy cream to room temperature in a saucepan
Add 1 Tablespoon buttermilk to the pan and mix well
Add mixture to a jar and lightly cover
Keep jar on counter (or in warm place) for the next 12-24 hours.
Fasten lid tightly and refrigerate
In a few hours it will thicken even more
Add the juice of 1/2 lime and a generous pinch of salt to the jar and mix well
Taste for seasoning
Serve immediately or store in the fridge


  1. Marinate the Onion
    Put the onion in a small bowl and pour in enough red wine vinegar to cover well. Set aside for at least 30 minutes or up to several weeks.
  2. Marinate the Fish
    Pour the olive oil into a small bowl and add the ancho chile powder, oregano, cumin, chopped cilantro, and jalapeño. Mix well. Place the fish on a dish and pour the marinade over it, making sure to coat the fish well on both sides. Allow to marinate for 20 minutes.
  3. Cook the Fish
    Heat a nonstick sauté pan over medium-high heat. Remove the fish from the marinade and place in the hot pan (there is no need to add more oil). Season the fish with salt. Cook the fish for 4 minutes undisturbed, then turn over, and cook for another 2 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and flake the fish into the pan with a fork, making sure to mix in all the marinade that has stuck to the bottom of the pan. Check for seasoning and add more salt if necessary. Set aside.
  4. Heat the Tortillas
    Place four of the tortillas on a plate and sandwich them between two slightly dampened sheets of paper towel. Microwave on high for 45 seconds. Place the warm tortillas in a towel-lined basket or plate and cover. Repeat with the remaining tortillas.
  5. Assemble and Serve
    To assemble the tacos, place a heaping spoonful of the marinated flaked fish onto the center of a tortilla. Top with the marinated onions. Serve accompanied by Mexican crema and salsa.

    Garnish with lime wedges and cilantro sprigs.



You can use any fish you like so long as you can flake the flesh when it is cooked. Most white fish fall under this category. 
Marinated Onions
Once you make this very simple condiment, you will find yourself keeping a container of these onions in your refrigerator to add to all of your dishes.
Don't be alarmed by the amount of vinegar needed to cover the onions completely. Since you will most likely have onions leftover, keep them submerged in the vinegar in a refrigerated airtight container. You can then use the vinegar for your other cooking needs. The onions will keep for several weeks.

The onions and fish can be made up to a day in advance. When reheating the fish, you may want to add about 1 tablespoon of water to make sure the fish does not dry out.

Reprinted from Simply Mexican by Lourdes Castro

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Imene's Homemade Quiche Recipe

 Welcome to Susa, Italy.
View from the Patio of Gigi and Imene's home.

My high school girlfriend, Cathy, and I visited her relatives in Susa, Italy.  It is in the Italian Alps, just a stone's throw from France.  We were being hosted by Gigi (Pier Luigi Tournour) and his wife Imene, (pronounced Eman)  Imene is from Tunisia, Africa, and married Cathy's Cousin Gigi seven years ago.  She is a great cook, and treated us to delicious meals in their home.

Michele and Gigi,  Imene and Cathy
headed out to dinner this evening.

Home of Gigi and Imene
Cathy's son Brad, and his friend Mat enjoy a game of Chess on the patio.
A feast is prepared for guests
in the Dining Room 

They have a truly lovely home, which was their family home.  Cathy's grandfather was born just up the hill in the town of Gravere.  

Actually, The Weather Channel App says we are in Gravere, and Susa is the town at the bottom of the hill.
Caprese Salad, Olives and Tuna Stuffed Peppers,
Tomato and Onion Relish, Bread & Biscuits and wine of course!

Imene prepared this traditional Spicy Couscous recipe from Africa, with local fish, prawns, scallops,
 potatoes, carrots and zucchini.  I'm not used to fish heads, but the meal  was delicious.

Imene Yakoubi
Wall art at the train station.


Quiche is one of my favorites and Imene gave me her recipe.
Imene Prepared Quiche for us.

Imene's Quiche Recipe

Flour - 300 grams = about 2 and 2/3 cups
Butter - 150 Grams = about 2/3 cup or 3/4 stick
Fresh Thymian (Thyme - her secret ingredient)

Mix all together, add water as needed.  Roll out flat and refrigerate 30 minutes

Bacon - Prepare, diced and cooked.  Remove bacon from grease and set aside.
Onion and zucchini - cook diced onion and zucchini in bacon grease.  Set aside.
Three Cheese - Parmesan, Mozzarella, and one other varietal such as Cheddar, Gouda (a dutch yellow cheese with a little nutty flavor), Emmental (swiss), Gruyere (another smoothe melting swiss)
                         Cheese is grated or thin slices.  ( a cup of each?)
5 eggs - beaten and then mixed with cheeses, bacon, zucchini, and onion.

Put crust in a pie dish with the egg and cheese mixture, and bake approx 180 degrees Celsius (Centigrade) for 40 minutes, which would be about 350 Fahrenheit.

Purchase everything you need at Harter House Supermarkets.


Michele's Quiche
 I used one zucchini and one onion,
 5 oz container of shredded Parmesan,
 8 oz Mozzarella ball
6 oz. mild Gruyere
 5 slices of Harter House Dbl Smoked Bacon

I also used 3/4 cup water for my crust.  I needed to add a little flour to the the waxed paper when I rolled out the dough, because when I removed the crust from the fridge, it was still pretty sticky.  Maybe I needed a little less water to start with.
 But it turned out great!  I was SO happy.  It was delicious!


Another family member living in Susa is Gigi's sister, Anita (Anita Tournour Viron), and her husband Luca Gontero.  Luca manages a Rock Climbing company and their son, Leonardo Gontero, will represent Italy in the next Olympics in the newly added sport of Rock Climbing.  And I can say, I know his mother!
Gigi, with Anita and husband Luca

Leonardo Gontero will represent Italy at the next Olympics.
We didn't meet Leonardo this trip, he is training and teaching his sport in Colorado!

Brad and Mat were invited to climb the wall at the factory where they make rock climbing accessories.
They enjoyed themselves!

Future Rock Climbers. 
Check out the wall behind them of finger grips made at this factory.
We are told that Leonardo, at the top of his sport, must be able to lift his body weight with just ONE FINGER TIP!


Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Chicken Thighs with Creamy Mushroom Sauce

I used only 4 chicken thighs and kept the amount of the sauce ingredients the same. 

So, if I were to make 8 chicken thighs, I would double the sauce.


Grilled-Pineapple Salsa

I do love Pork topped with a fresh fruit salsa.
This Grilled Pineapple Salsa is one of my favorites. It's super simple and healthy! Hope you enjoy!

5 (1-inch) slices fresh pineapple (about 4 1/2 pounds)
1 red bell pepper
1 yellow bell pepper
Cooking spray
1/2 cup finely chopped red onion
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons minced crystallized ginger
2 jalapeño peppers, seeded and minced
1 drained canned chipotle chile in adobo sauce, minced

Preheat grill.
Place first 3 ingredients on a grill rack coated with cooking spray; grill 3 minutes on each side. Discard stems and seeds from bell peppers; then dice pineapple and bell peppers. Combine pineapple, bell pepper, onion, and remaining ingredients; toss gently.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Michele's Baked Lasagna

Many years ago, I purchased R&F Brand Lasagna noodles.  I decided to save the recipe knowing someday I would not be able to find it. Sure enough, the parent company sold and today this brand no longer exists.   But I still have the recipe.  This recipe is my base. It is great as is, but I will enhance it, making it a little different each time.  I ALWAYS double the meat that is called for.

These are my ingredients.  I start with opening my wine, because I love to enjoy a glass as I cook.
1 lb. Lasagna noodles
3/4 lb. Ricotta
2 eggs
4 Cups Meat Sauce - See below
1 lb. Mozzarella Cheese
4 Tbls Grated Parmesan Cheese
1 1/2 Tsp Salt
1/2 Tsp Pepper
Meat Sauce
1 lb. Ground meat ( 1/2 beef - 1/2 Pork)   - (I double this.)
1/4 Cup Olive Oil
1 Large Onion
1/4 Cup Chopped Parsley
1 Clove Garlic, chopped or pressed
1 Carrot, grated
1 Can Tomatoes, chopped or mixed in blender for a few seconds
1 (6 oz) can Tomato Paste
1/2 Cup Dry Red Wine
12 oz. water
1 Tsp Salt
1/4 Tsp Pepper
1 Tsp Basil

Sauté onion, parsley, garlic and carrot in oil. Add meat and brown.
Add tomatoes paste wine and water, salt, pepper and basil.  Simmer 1 hour.

Boil Lasagna 10 minutes in 6 Qts. salted water.  Add cold water until noodles can be handles.  Do NOT drain.

In a separate bowl mix eggs and ricotta.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.

 Grease Baking dish and arrange the bottom with parallel layers of lasagna.  Add 1/3 of Meat Sauce, 1/3 Ricotta mixture, 1/3 thin slices Mozzarella.  Sprinkle with grated Parmesan.  Cover with another layer of each, and a third layer of each.  Bake in moderate oven (350 degrees) for 30 minutes. 
Serves 8

I chopped my onion, added grated carrots, and pressed garlic.
Saute in 1/4 cup Olive Oil

I added 1 lb. each of
  Harter House Ground Round (95%  lean)
and Harter House homemade Italian Sausage.

At Harter House, all of our ground meats are ground fresh daily from our own trimmings, to ensure the freshest product for your family.

Brown the meat and drain the fat and oil from the pot.
I like to use Bounty paper towels to soak up the liquid.

I added basil rather than parsley.  I love the flavor of basil and I find that fresh spices add an extra kick that always wins the prize.

Next I added chopped Roasted Red Peppers, tomatoes, and tomato paste.
I added 1 cup Cabernet Wine and 1 cup water.
(a little different from the original recipe)


Now, we let it simmer for an hour.

Next, I've set up my work station to layer each ingredient.
A little oil on the Pampered Chef Stone Bakeware. 
Layer noodles, meat sauce, Ricotta and egg mixture, Mozzarella slices, and Parmesan cheese. Repeat for three layers.  Then bake in a 350 degree oven 30-45 minutes. (since I made a larger amount, I cooked it a little longer)  Then I broiled the lasagna just long enough to make the cheese bubbly on top.

Finally, I made a Cheesy Garlic Bread with English Muffins.  Melted butter and garlic powder sprinkled on muffins and topped with shredded mozzarella.  Broil for about 8 minutes, till the cheese is browned a bit.

My hard work paid off.
I received a third place Judges Choice at our August Springfield's Best Mixer, that had a Italian themed Bring a Dish contest.

Italian Sausage Stromboli

I LOVE Italian Sausage.  I LOVE any type of Stromboli, and we never get tired of this recipe.
Start with pizza dough, then cooked Italian sausage, lots of mozzarella cheese and a drizzle of pizza sauce.  You can add sauteed peppers, olives, ham, pepperoni or any other topping that suits your fancy.
Italian Sausage Stromboli
Just like pizza, the possibilities are endless.  Then roll and bake.  You can serve this with a salad for a 30 minute meal or alongside veggies and dip as an appetizer. 

Ingredients you’ll need:
1 medium sweet onion, finely diced
3 cloves garlic minced
1lb spicy Italian sausage
1/2 cup pizza sauce, plus more for dipping
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1 - 13.4 oz. refrigerated pizza crust (such as Pillsbury Classic) or 1lb homemade pizza dough

1 Tbsp butter or margarine, melted
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp garlic salt
1/2 tsp dry Italian seasoning
1 Tbsp grated Parmesan cheese

In a medium stove top saucepan, saute the onion in a couple of drizzles of olive oil for 3 minutes until soft.  Add the minced garlic and saute for 1 minute.  Add the Italian sausage and cook until no pink remains.  Drain any excess fat from the pan and remove from the heat to cool.  This can be done ahead of time for a time saver.   Drain well and refrigerate if making in advance.

To assemble:
Preheat the oven to 425°F.  On parchment paper, stretch the dough into roughly a 10 x 13 inch rectangle.  Sprinkle with half of the shredded mozzarella cheese.  Arrange the cooked sausage on top, then drizzle with the pizza sauce.  Top with the remaining shredded cheese, and begin to roll starting from the widest edge.  Arrange seem side down on the prepared baking sheet.
For the topping:
Brush the top and sides with melted butter, then sprinkle the seasonings on top.  Finish with a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese.  [Tip: All of the seasonings can be adjusted to suit your taste.]
Bake for 18 minutes then allow to rest for 5-10 minutes before cutting into 1 inch slices.  Serve with additional pizza sauce for dipping, if desired.  Yield: 12 pieces
Italian Sausage Stromboli

Italian Sausage Stromboli
Serves: 12