Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Lemon Chicken Scaloppini

A chicken dish with ZIP! The zippyness comes from lemon and marinated artichokes but is mellowed out by a lovely thick, creamy thyme sauce.

Apparently, this recipe tastes like that of the Scaloppini served at T.G.I Fridays. What BETTER way to enjoy especially yummy food without the waiting spoiling your appetite than to just make it at home! Plus-this recipe has the added benefit of shoving artichokes down a certain man's man throat. ;-)

Serves: 6 - 8

2 cups very dry white wine
1 Tbls. real butter
2 cups heavy whipping cream
1 tsp. dried thyme, crushed
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
*a teaspoon cornstarch mixed in water to thicken-only if needed.

2 - 2 1/2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 Tbls. olive oil
8 oz. sliced fresh mushrooms
2 t. minced garlic
2 lemons – sliced in half
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup coarsely chopped, marinated artichoke hearts
4 tsp. chopped fresh parsley OR 2 tsp. dried parsley
1 lb. box pasta. I wanted to use Fettuccine but realized I only had angel hair. :-(

-In a 2-quart saucepan, boil wine until reduced by half. Add lemon juice to pan, then whisk in butter until melted. Add 2 cups cream and simmer on low heat until thickened, stirring often. If necessary you can add some diluted cornstarch and boil until thickened. This is what I did because I am impatient! :-) Remove from heat, stir in spices, and set aside.

-Pound chicken breasts with the flat side of a meat mallet or the bottom of a glass or in my case, a normal lumber hammer. I will say I pounded them INSIDE a ziploc bag-so you don't think I am WEIRD or anything. :-) Pound them until thin.

-Fill a large pot with water and begin to heat to boiling. Add pasta and cook until al dente.

-Heat oil in a large skillet or wok over medium-high heat; add chicken to pan and saut̩ on each side for 60 Р90 seconds, or until chicken is cooked through. I took the chicken out and put it on a warmed plate because my skillet was too small. If you have a large skillet-by all means, do this stuff all together!) Add mushrooms to pan and saut̩ with until mushrooms begin to soften. Squeeze juice from both lemon halves over chicken and mushrooms; pick out any seeds (Pssst. you can also use LEMON JUICE-I did). Add garlic. Add 1/2 cup cream to pan and bring to a boil, stirring often. Remove from heat; stir in artichokes, parsley, and prepared lemon sauce; set aside (add chicken back to skillet if necessary) and keep warm.

-On individual serving plates or one large platter, swirl portions of drained pasta into “nest(s)”. Arrange chicken pieces in center of nest, pour sauce/mushrooms over and around chicken.

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These ooey gooey bars are chock full of pecans and chocolate. A yummy alternative to a 'cookie' and a nice fall treat. Plus it is a great 'helper recipe'. Helper recipes are those that work well with lots of little fingers-I had twenty pint-sized flour covered ones helping me. What makes a good helper recipe you ask? Stirring with a spoon-not an electric beater of course!
Try them-they're good!

1 1/2 c. all purpose flour
1/2 c. packed brown sugar
1/2 c. cold butter

Mix flour and brown sugar in a medium bowl. Cut in butter until coarse and crumbly. Press this mixture into a greased 13 x 9 inch pan and bake at 350 for 10-15 minutes or until golden brown.

Meanwhile: mix 3 eggs
3/4 c. sugar
3/4 c. corn syrup
2 T. butter, melted
1 t. vanilla extract

in the bowl. Once well blended, add about

1 3/4 c. chocolate chips or chunks
1 1/2 c. coarsely chopped pecans.

Pour overtop baked crust and return pan to oven to bake for 20-25 minutes more or until set. Cool completely and cut into bars.

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These are wonderfully versatile as they can include any 'innards' that you prefer. You could have a ham and cheese stromboli, all veggie, meat and veggie, pizza topping, sausage and EGG even. You are only limited by your own imagination. This particular loaf includes a mixture of nearly all the suggestions above.

To make the dough you can do it the easy way or the 'not AS easy way'.

The easy way? Use thawed frozen bread dough.

The 'Not Quite as Easy' way: make the dough using your breadmachine.

Here is how to do version one: Go the store. Go to the freezer section. Find frozen dough. Purchase it and bring it home. Allow it to thaw on your countertop and then allow to 'rest' until it has risen just a bit.

Here is how to do version two:

Put: 6-7 oz. warm water
3/4 t. salt
2 T. olive oil
2 1/2 c. all purpose flour
2 t. sugar
1 3/4 t. active dry yeast

...all in the bread machine in that order and turn on dough setting.

Regardless what method you get your dough-the following steps are the same.

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.

Roll out your dough-or stretch it (as I prefer doing) into a large rectangle and place on a greased and cornmeal sprinkled cookie sheet.

Now simply add whatever "toppings" you would like.

I layered mine with:

green peppers
and mozzerella cheese.

Then I sprinkled the whole thing with Italian Seasoning.

FIll it up in the center, leaving about two inches on the two long sides and one inch on the short sides. Bring the long sides up and pinch together to create a seal. Pinch the short sides together as well.

Now CAREFULLY flip the 'boli over so that the seal is underneath. Take a sharp knife and make a few shallow slashes on the top.

Place in a preheated oven and bake for 8-10 minutes or until nicely golden brown.

Some notes: The dough recipe is easily doubled so that you can make an extra 'boli for larger families or to freeze for another day.

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Caramels dipped in Dark Chocolate

Yes. I DID just post four photos of the same exact thing. I am just delighting in the memory of these gorgeous bits of caramel heaven-a long DISTANT memory.
Randi from I Have to Say inspired me to make some of these bits of deliciousness when she posted the caramel recipe to cover apples this fall. I just happened to have the recipe book that she referenced (Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook) and set to work, making my own bits of concoction.

Here it is, if you dare tempt yourself.

1 cup butter
1-16 oz. package of brown sugar (2-1/4 cups packed)
1-14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk
1 cup light corn syrup
1 tsp. vanilla

In a saucepan melt butter over low heat. Add brown sugar, milk and corn syrup. Mix well. Cook over medium-high heat until mixture boils and then clip a candy thermometer to the pan and continue boiling, stirring frequently, until the temperature reaches 248 degrees (firm-ball stage). This takes about 15-20 minutes.

Remove the saucepan from heat and add vanilla.

Grease an 8x8 inch pan that is foil lined and pour the caramel in to cool.

Once cooled, with a buttered knife or buttered kitchen scissors, cut into pieces. When I did this-it was an ABSOLUTE pain in my side because I tried cutting it without it having been cooled thoroughly. Don't make my mistake. PLEASE. Your head will thank me!

Meanwhile, put about 2 cups dark chocolate chips in a double broiler and add about a teaspoon of shortning. Stir until chocolate is melted then start dipping your caramels in it. Place on wax paper to cool.

Once cool you can decorate it by putting the leftover chocolate in a ziploc baggie and cutting off the tip. Then squeeze the chocolate out and make stripes, designs or WHATEVER.

Need I even MENTION these make great gifts?!?

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