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Monthly Archives: April 2015

Chicken Divan

Chicken Divan is a chicken casserole usually served with broccoli, almonds, and Mornay sauce. It was named after the place of its invention, the Divan Parisiennne Restaurant in the New York Chatham Hotel where it was served as the signature dish in the early twentieth century. Its creator, a chef named Lagasi, created it as part of a contest, winning a small amount of money and creating their signature dish. Source – Wikipedia

I actually really like chicken or turkey divan and it is pretty straightforward to prepare. If I don’t want to cook my own chicken or turkey I sometimes buy a roast chicken or turkey breast at the deli counter and chunk it up for this recipe since it starts with cooked chicken.

Chicken Divan Prep time 45 mins Cook time 30 mins Total time 1 hour 15 mins

Ingredients • 4 chicken breasts, cooked and shredded (or head to the Deli)

• 2 to 3 heads broccoli (while at the deli grab some florets too)

• 2 cans cream of chicken soup (any cream soup will do except cheddar)

• 1½ cup mayonnaise

• ⅓ cup sour cream

• ⅓ cup chicken broth

• 2 teaspoons lemon juice

• ¼ teaspoon curry (or up to 2 teaspoons, to taste)

• 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

• bread crumbs, or Ritz crackers, crumbled

• cooked rice, for serving

Instructions

Cut broccoli into florets and steam until just tender, about 2-3 minutes. place broccoli in the bottom of a 9×13 pan. in a large bowl, combine cream of chicken soup, mayo, sour cream, chicken broth, lemon juice, curry, cheese and shredded chicken. pour chicken mixture over broccoli and top with a sprinkle of bread crumbs or crushed Ritz crackers. bake at 400 for 30 minutes. serve over rice.

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Baked Lemon Asparagus

As a kid we used to pick asparagus along the ditches near our home in early spring. Mother always boiled it…YUCK!

Both of us love asparagus and it is in season here right now. In the past I always have done it on the grill, with garlic and Parmesan cheese. Sometimes I make asparagus fries in the oven with panko, egg and Parmesan. Feeling lazy I looked for something simpler. It was a lot less time consuming.

Baked Lemon Asparagus (http://natashaskitchen.com)
Ingredients
• 2 bunches asparagus
• 1 lemon
• 4 Tbsp butter
• Olive oil
• Salt & Pepper
• ½ cup shredded Parmesan cheese
Instructions
1. Rinse 2 bunches of asparagus and break off the ends by holding the base end and snapping it wherever it snaps.
2. Place asparagus in a large baking dish, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper.
3. Squeeze ½ of a lemon over the asparagus. Cover the top third of the asparagus with lemon slices from the other half of your lemon (optional).
4. Thinly slice 4 tbsp of butter and line the center of the asparagus with butter.
5. Bake at 400°F for 12 minutes or until asparagus is tender. Remove asparagus from the oven and set oven to Broil.
6. Sprinkle the center of the asparagus with Parmesan cheese and broil 2-3 minutes or until cheese is melted and golden.

Tuscan Bread and Tomato Soup (Pappa al Pomodoro)

Several years ago we were in Fiesole, just outside Florence when we stopped for lunch at a small restaurant – Perseus. The special of the day was Ribollita, traditionally made with day old bread, tomatoes and cannelloni beans. Alas, it was not very memorable as it was mostly bread.

I just came across this version which had less bread, no beans and lots of tomato-ey flavour! We thought it was awesome and certainly worth making again. Heres a view of Fiesole –

757_5714And now here is the recipe I found with a few alterations…

Tuscan Bread and Tomato Soup

Ingredients

Extra virgin olive oil, plus high quality finishing oil, for garnish
1 large red onion, diced
Kosher salt
Pinch crushed red pepper flakes
3 garlic cloves, smashed and finely chopped
1 cup white wine
2 pounds ripe summer tomatoes, diced (Substitute two cans of chopped tomatoes)
10 basil leaves, half whole and half cut into chiffonade
2 cups tomato juice
2 cups day-old Italian bread, crusts removed and cubed
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

Directions

Coat a large wide pot with olive oil over medium heat and add the onions. Season with salt and crushed red pepper, to taste, and cook until the onions are soft and very aromatic, about 8 to 10 minutes. Toss in the garlic and cook for 2 to 3 more minutes. Add the wine and cook until it has reduced by half. Stir in the tomatoes, season with salt, to taste, and cook until the tomatoes are really soft and juicy, about 12 to 15 minutes. Toss in the whole basil leaves.

Working in batches, carefully puree the tomatoes in a blender*. Return the tomato puree to the pot and add the tomato juice and the bread. Cook the soup over medium heat for until the bread has completely lost its shape and the soup is really thick, about 20 minutes. Taste the soup and adjust the seasoning, if needed. (I usually skip this process as I like my soups chunkier, which means I just dd the bread to the pot. You decide!)

Ladle the soup into bowls and serve garnished with grated cheese, basil chiffonade and a drizzle of big fat finishing oil.

*When blending hot liquids: Remove liquid from the heat and allow to cool for at least 5 minutes. Transfer liquid to a blender or food processor and fill it no more than halfway. If using a blender, release one corner of the lid. This prevents the vacuum effect that creates heat explosions. Place a towel over the top of the machine, pulse a few times then process on high speed until smooth.

Recipe courtesy Anne Burrell

Read more at: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/anne-burrell/tuscan-tomato-and-bread-soup-pappa-al-pomodoro-recipe.html?oc=linkback

Grilled Margherita Sandwiches

Happy Easter to all! Hope you had a wonderful weekend!

Looking for a summery menu a week ago, I decided to make my favourite two salads, Amish Macaroni and June Vance’s Four Bean. I wasn’t in the mood for hamburgers and went searching for something a little different as a quick accompaniment. I found it in this sandwich which mimics one of my other favourite salads, Cabrese, with mozzarella cheese, tomatoes, and fresh basil. Just before we sat down to eat I assembled the prepared ingredients and fired up our stove top grill…the result was awesome!

Grilled Margherita Sandwiches (Adapted from CookingClub.com)
Prep Time: 15 minutes Cook Time: about 10 minutes Level: easy Makes: 4 sandwiches
• 8 (1/2-inch) slices crusty Italian bread
• 2 large garlic cloves, quartered
• 4 to 8 thin slices whole-milk mozzarella cheese (about 3 oz.) (I was tempted to use goat)
• 2 large plum tomatoes, thinly sliced
• 2 or 3 fresh basil leaves per sandwich
• 1/2 teaspoon garlic-pepper seasoning
• 1 -2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
• Roasted peppers (optional)
Rub both sides of each bread slice with garlic and a little extra virgin olive oil. Place 4 slices on work surface; top each with one-fourth of the cheese and half of the tomato, roasted peppers and basil. Sprinkle each with 1/8 teaspoon of the seasoning; top with remaining cheese and bread slices.
Brush tops of sandwiches with some of the oil; sprinkle with some of the seasoning. Heat 1 teaspoon of the oil in large skillet or on a stove-top grill over medium heat until hot.You could use a panini press I guess.

Place sandwiches, brushed-sides down, in skillet; cover and cook 4 to 5 minutes or until golden brown and cheese on bottom of sandwich begins to melt.
Reduce heat to medium-low. Brush tops of sandwiches with remaining oil; sprinkle with remaining seasoning. Turn; cover and cook 2 to 4 minutes or until golden brown and cheese is melted.

Thank You!!!

Apologies for interfering with your busy weekend, but I just wanted to share with you that sometime during the night this blog reached 10,000 views! I am overwhelmed at that so many people have taken the time to stop by…I intend to keep going and hope you will continue to check out this site and share it with your friends.

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