Friday, February 22, 2019

Chicken Parmesan Casserole

This chicken Parmesan is done casserole style (so, no breading or frying!), but still offers up that irresistible combination of tender chicken, crunchy/cheesy coating, and flavorful sauce."     


2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, crushed and finely chopped
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, or to taste
4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves (not too large)
2 cups prepared marinara sauce
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil                                    
1 (8 ounce) package shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided
1 (5 ounce) package garlic croutons


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  2. Coat the bottom of a 9x13 inch casserole dish with olive oil, and sprinkle with garlic and hot red pepper flakes.
  3. Arrange the chicken breasts in bottom of the dish, and pour marinara sauce over chicken. Sprinkle basil over marinara sauce, and top with half the mozzarella cheese, followed by half the Parmesan cheese. Sprinkle on the croutons, then top with the remaining mozzarella cheese and remaining Parmesan cheese.
  4. Bake in preheated oven until cheese and croutons are golden brown and the chicken is no longer pink inside, about 35 minutes to an hour, depending on the shape and thickness of your chicken breasts. An instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of a chicken breast should read at least 160 degrees F (70 degrees C).  

Bacon-Wrapped Filet Mignon with Crumbled Gorgonzola


• 2 Harter House Bacon-Wrapped Filet Mignon
• Kosher or sea salt and cracked black pepper to taste
• 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
• 2 tablespoons Gorgonzola, crumbled


Preheat oven to 350°F.
Heat olive oil over medium-high heat in a medium-sized oven-safe skillet.
Season filets with sea salt and cracked black pepper;
carefully add to hot oil, browning each side for 2 minutes.
Transfer skillet to oven and roast in pan for 12-15 minutes (medium-rare to medium). Remove from oven; let stand 4-5 minutes.
Top filets with a tablespoon each of crumbled Gorgonzola
and serve atop Pan-Roasted Cremini Mushrooms & Fennel Bulb. **

Serve with your
favorite Merlot
or Cabernet Sauvignon.

**Grilled Cremini Mushrooms and Fennel Salad Recipe

A fantastic winter salad featuring fresh fennel, grilled mushrooms, and a bright lemon basil vinaigrette.

Creamy Lemon-Basil Vinaigrette:
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 lemon, zested
2 tablespoons prepared mayonnaise
2 teaspoons honey
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves
1/2 cup olive oil
1 lemon, cut in half and grilled, for garnish
1 pound cremini mushrooms, brushed clean of any grit
3 tablespoons canola oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 large fennel bulb, trimmed and cut into 1/8-inch thick slices
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves

For the vinaigrette:
Combine lemon juice, zest, mayonnaise, honey, salt, pepper, basil and olive oil in a blender and blend until smooth. Can be made 1 hour in advance and refrigerated.
For the mushrooms:
Heat the grill to high.
Place the mushrooms in a large bowl, add the canola oil and salt and pepper and toss to coat. Skewer mushrooms, 4 on a skewer. Place the mushrooms on the grill, until golden brown and slightly charred, 4 to 5 minutes. Turn over and continue grilling until just cooked through, 3 to 4 minutes longer. Remove from the grill to a cutting board and quarter.
Place the fennel and parsley in a large bowl, add half of the vinaigrette and toss to combine, season with salt and pepper. Top with the mushrooms and drizzle with more of the vinaigrette. Squeeze lemon juice over the salad and serve.

Monday, February 11, 2019



Recipe by Maria Savvenas

  • 3 cups walnuts
  • 3 cups almonds
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground cloves
  • Grand Marnier, generous splash    (maybe 2 oz.)
Pulse walnuts and almonds in a food processor until coarsely chopped. Combine walnuts, almonds, cinnamon, cloves, and enough Grand Marnier to slightly moisten the mixture in a bowl. Set aside.

  • One Athens 1 lb. box fillo dough, at room temperature
  • 3/4 lb. Plugra Sweet Cream European-style butter, melted
Brush the bottom and sides of a 9 X 13 in. baking pan generously with butter. Working with one fillo sheet at a time, remove the top sheet, and replace the dry and wet tea towels back on the stack. Arrange one sheet at the bottom of the pan. Using a pastry brush, brush the fillo sheet with melted butter, first at the edges and then in the middle. Repeat until the bottom layer is 8 sheets thick, each brushed generously with butter. Spread 1/3 of the filling evenly over the top. Layer 4 more sheets, buttering each. Spread another 1/3 of the filling evenly on top. Layer 4 more sheets, buttering each. Spread the remaining 1/3 of the filling evenly. Layer up to 8 or more sheets of fillo, buttering each. This is your top layer. It can be as thick as you choose. Score the baklava into squares or diamonds. Dot any remaining butter evenly all over. Sprinkle a few drops of water over the top and place pan in a pre-heated 350-degree oven for about 1 hour until golden brown. Check at 40 minutes, but as long as 1 1/2 hours may be needed for fillo dough to be as golden brown as desired. In the meantime prepare the syrup.

  • 3 cups sugar
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 9.88 oz jar Tassos Mountain Honey with Thyme (or 1 cup honey)
  • Cinnamon Stick
  • One lemon slice
Bring all ingredients to a boil in a large sauce pan. Allow to simmer for at least five minutes. Remove cinnamon stick and lemon slice and any foam that accumulates. As soon as you pull the baklava out of the oven, ladle the hot syrup evenly over the top. Allow the baklava to cool and absorb the syrup completely. It keeps at room temperature for up to 10 days in an air-tight container. Baklava may certainly be refrigerated, but the honey will crystallize and may alter the texture. 

Working with Fillo Dough: Remove fillo dough from freezer and leave overnight in refrigerator. At least two hours before preparation, leave the box on the kitchen counter to fully come to room temperature. Remove fillo dough from box and unroll carefully. Lay it flat on the counter top with its plastic membrane underneath and a dry and a wet tea towel on top to prevent the dough from drying out. If the top sheets are too wet, rotate to the bottom. It is important to work quickly at this point. You may rotate the stack a few more times as needed. Assemble as directed by recipe.

Spanakopita - Enjoy a Greek Spinach Pie

Several years ago, my good friend Maria Savvenas was a guest chef at Harter House World Flavors Sampling Station she demonstrated how to make Spanakopita, a Greek Spinach Pie.

At that time, I had eaten it before but had never made it myself. So I watched her put them together into small triangles and of course, she made it look SO easy. So I purchased all the ingredients and decided I would attempt to make them at home. Which I did do.  It was time consuming, it took me at least 3 hours, but OMG, it was so worth it. I did get faster the next time because I then had a better understanding of the process. The time consuming part is taking the Fillo Dough, one sheet at a time, and basting each sheet with butter, using 4 sheets for each triangle, and trying to get them right on top of the 1st sheet.  Today I feel like a pro.  I make it often, my family loves it, and I love to take it when I need to "bring a dish" to my holiday parties.

Working with Phyllo Dough
I put wax paper on the counter, unroll the Fillo dough on the wax paper, and put another piece of wax paper on top of the phyllo dough, then put a damp towel on top to keep the phyllo dough from drying out. It's nearly impossible to work with the Fillo dough after it starts to dry out.

I was able to get 16 Spanakopita triangles from this recipe and 1 box of Athen's Fillo Dough.


Maria also told me that if I want to make a lot for a large group that I can use a 9x13 pan, putting phyllo dough on the bottom of the pan, then the mixture, another layer of Fillo Dough and mixture, and top with more phyllo dough sheets. Same process of buttering each layer.


1 lb. Spinach (baby – Large Container)
2 Leeks – chopped
Large Onion – chopped
1 bunch Green onion – Chopped
2-3 cloves of Garlic – Chopped or minced
2 Eggs
2 Cups Crumbled Feta
1 tsp. Salt
½ tsp. black pepper
1 lb. Fillo Dough
1 cup salted butter, melted

1) Remove fillo from Freezer and put it in the refrigerator overnight to thaw. As you prepare the filling, remove fillo from the fridge and leave on the counter
2) Sauté onion, leeks, green onion and garlic over medium high heat until softened. Add Spinach, wilting the leaves. Remove pan from heat. Add Salt, pepper, dill, and feta mixing well. Then add slightly beaten eggs, stirring well – to blend the ingredients. Set mixture aside.
3) Unroll fillo dough from package. Lay it out flat on the countertop. Wet a dishtowel to cover the fillo you are not using to keep it from drying out. Use a sharp knife to cut fillo in half lengthwise to create two columns of equal size. Cover one column with a damp towel. Use other column to begin assembling.

4) Take one sheet and brush with melted butter, and then place another sheet on top of the buttered side and brush with butter again. Repeat until you have four layers of fillo.
5) Place butter fillo in front of you lengthwise. (The wider side toward you)

  Drain spinach mixture in a colander. Press mixture with the back of a spoon to remove excess moisture. Take a Tbl. of spinach mixture and place it on the bottom inside corner of the fillo. Take the corner of the dough, underneath the spinach mixture so that the corner meets flush with the other side. Continue folding until there is no more fillo and you have a triangle.
6) Repeat until fillo or mixture is gone. Place on a baking sheet and brush each triangle with more butter
7) Bake at 350 for about 30 minutes or until the fillo dough is golden.  

            I like to use Plugra European Butter.
    I also like Athenos Feta Cheese.  Plain or mix it up with flavored varieties.
            I like to chop all my vegetables before I start.  They tend to cook faster than I can cut. 
            Open a bottle of your favorite wine and consume while cooking.


Find everything you need at Harter House
and Harter House World Flavors.

Monday, February 4, 2019

Simple Scones

2 Cups All Purpose Sugar
1/3 Cup Sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
8 Tablespoons unsalted butter, frozen
1/2 Cup raisins (or dried currants)
1/2 Cup Sour Cream
1 large egg

Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and preheat oven to 400 degrees.

In a medium bowl, mix flour, 1/3 cup sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Grate butter into flour mixture on the large holes of a box grater; use your fingers to work in butter (mixture should resemble coarse meal), then stir in raisins.

In a small bowl, whisk sour cream and egg until smooth.

Using a fork, stir sour cream mixture into flour mixture until large dough clumps form. Use your hands to press the dough against the bowl into a ball. (The dough will be sticky in places, and there may not seem to be enough liquid at first, but as you press, the dough will come together.)

Place on a lightly floured surface and pat into a 7- to 8-inch circle about 3/4-inch thick. Sprinkle with remaining 1 tsp. of sugar. Use a sharp knife to cut into 8 triangles; place on a cookie sheet (preferably lined with parchment paper), about 1 inch apart. Bake until golden, about 15 to 17 minutes. Cool for 5 minutes and serve warm or at room temperature.


Cranberry-Orange Scones
Follow the recipe for Simple Scones, adding a generous teaspoon of finely grated orange rind (zest) to the dry ingredients and substituting dried cranberries for the raisins.

Lemon-Blueberry Scones
Follow the recipe for Simple Scones, adding a generous teaspoon of finely grated lemon rind (zest) to the dry ingredients and substituting dried blueberries for the raisins.

Cherry-Almond Scones
Follow the recipe for Simple Scones, adding 1/2 tsp. almond extract to the sour cream mixture and substituting dried cherries for the raisins.

Aluminum foil can be used to keep food moist, cook it evenly, and make clean-up easier.

This recipe comes from

Quick Crispy Chicken Cutlets

This recipe is one of my favorites.  It 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.