Caprese Chicken with Bacon

Caprese Chicken with Bacon

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Wow!  This was amazingly delicious and easy and I will definitely be making it again.

Ingredients:

  • 8 bacon strips
  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves (6 ounces each) (1)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • 2 plum tomatoes, sliced (2)
  • 6 fresh basil leaves, thinly sliced (3)
  • 4 slices part-skim mozzarella cheese

Directions:

Place bacon in an ungreased 15x10x1 baking pan.  Bake at 400 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes or until partially cooked but not crisp.  Remove to paper towels to drain.

Place chicken in an ungreased 13×9 baking pan; brush with oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Top with tomatoes and basil.  Wrap each chicken breast in two bacon strips, arranging bacon in a crisscross. (4)

Bake, uncovered, at 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until a meat thermometer reads 170 degrees.  Top with cheese, bake 1 minute longer or until melted.

Notes:

(1)     I used 4 chicken breasts but I cut each one in half to make smaller pieces.

(2)     I only put tomatoes on a few of them since most of us eating that night don’t care of cooked tomatoes.

(3)     I didn’t have fresh basil leaves so I sprinkled each piece of chicken with dried basil.

(4)     I only put one slice of bacon on each piece.

Caprese Chicken with Bacon

Caprese Chicken with Bacon

Caprese Chicken with Bacon

Caprese Chicken with Bacon

Caprese Chicken with Bacon

Caprese Chicken with Bacon

Caprese Chicken with Bacon

from Taste of Home Magazine
June/July 2010

Spinach Artichoke Rigatoni

Spinach Artichoke Rigatoni

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Yes, another artichoke recipe.  My husband loves artichokes so I make them a lot.  He really enjoyed this combination, especially the way I modified it!

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups uncooked rigatoni or large tube pasta
  • 1 package (10 ounces) frozen creamed spinach
  • 1 can (14-ounce) water-packed artichoke hearts, rinsed, drained & quartered (1)
  • 2 cups (8 ounces) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese, divided
  • ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese (2)
  • ½ teaspoon salt (3)
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper (3)

Directions:

Preheat broiler.  Prepare rigatoni and spinach according to package directions.

Drain pasta, reserving ½ cup pasta water; return to pan.  Stir in artichokes, ½ cup mozzarella, parmesan, salt, pepper, and cooked spinach, adding some of the reserved pasta water to thin, if desired.

Transfer to a greased 2-quart broiler safe baking dish; top with remaining mozzarella. Broil 4-6 inches from heat 2 minutes or until cheese is melted. (4)

Notes:

(1)     I used two cans and it was perfect.

(2)     I omitted.  It had plenty of cheese without it.

(3)     I omitted.  It didn’t need salt and I figured David could add pepper if it needed it.  He didn’t add any.

(4)     I did not broil this dish.  I put everything in a greased 13×9 pan and heated it at 350 for about 20 minutes, until heated through.

(5)     I added 2 cups of shredded chicken to make it a compete meal.

Spinach Artichoke Rigatoni

from Taste of Home Magazine, February/March 2014 

Two Cheese Linguini

Two Cheese Linguine

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Yum.  This linguini was really good and made a great side dish for yesterday’s Balsamic Chicken Breasts.

Ingredients:

  • 1 package (7 ounces) linguine
  • 2 tablespoons butter or margarine
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 1-1/2 cups milk
  • ¾ cup (6 ounces) shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice

Directions:

Cook linguine according to package directions.

Meanwhile, in a skillet over low heat, melt butter.  Stir in flour, salt and pepper until smooth.  Gradually stir in milk.  Bring to a boil; boil and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened.  Remove from the heat.

Combine cheeses; toss with lemon juice.  Add to the sauce; stir until cheese begins to melt.

Drain linguine; add the cheese sauce and toss to coat.

Yield:  2 servings

Notes:

I doubled the recipe since 2 servings wouldn’t be enough for my family but I ended up with a lot more than 4 servings.  I would say the recipe, as is, makes 4 servings instead of 2.

from Quick Cooking Magazine, Collector’s Edition

Green Bean and Mozzarella Salad

Green Bean and Mozzarella Salad

If you’re looking for a really easy dish to take to your next family picnic or serve with dinner, look no more.  This dish is not only easy and delicious but it looks beautiful, too.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups cut fresh green beans (2-inch pieces)
  • 6 plum tomatoes, sliced
  • 1 block (8 ounces) mozzarella cheese, cubed
  • ½ cup Italian salad dressing
  • 1/3 cup minced fresh basil
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper

Directions:

Place beans in a small saucepan and cover with water.  Bring to a boil; cook, uncovered, for 6-8 minutes or until crisp-tender.  Drain and rinse in cold water.

Place beans in a large salad bowl.  Add the remaining ingredients; gently toss to coat.  Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour before serving.  Yield:  6-8 servings

Notes:

  • I used frozen green beans and cooked them in the microwave for about 6 minutes.
  • I used a 10-ounce package of grape tomatoes and cut each tomato in half.
  • Instead of fresh basil, I used 1 teaspoon of dried basil.
  • I only used a sprinkle of salt and pepper – definitely not the amount called for.

from Taste of Home Magazine

Chicken Parmesan Sandwiches

I felt like a gourmet cook when I made these Chicken Parmesan Sandwiches.  They looked like something you would get a restaurant!  And my family gave them a definite thumbs up.

Ingredients:

  • 1-1/2 pounds chicken cutlets
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cups prepared tomato and basil pasta sauce
  • 6 ciabatta buns, split
  • 1 (8-ounce) package shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • Garnish:  chopped fresh parsley

Directions:

Sprinkle chicken with salt, pepper, and basil.  In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat.  Add chicken and cook for 4 minutes per side or until golden brown.  Stir in pasta sauce and cook for 5 more minutes or until heated through.

Preheat broiler to high.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Top bottom halves of buns with chicken and sauce.  Sprinkle with cheeses.  Broil for 3 to 4 minutes or until cheese melts.  Sprinkle with parsley, if desired.  Cover with bun tops.

NOTES:

1.       My grocery store didn’t have chicken cutlets.  The butcher told me cutlets are just thin pieces of chicken.  So I purchased regular chicken.  However, these sandwiches taste best if you keep the chicken thin.  So if your chicken is a little chunky, cut it in half horizontally or pound it thin.

2.       My grocery store also didn’t have ciabatta buns so I made Italian Cheese Sandwich Buns.  They tasted great but if you’d rather purchase buns, just choose a hearty bread that looks good to you.

3.       The only bad thing about this recipe is that you can’t make it ahead and leftovers don’t keep well.  So your best bet is to make just enough for your meal.

from Cooking With Paula Deen, November/December 2012

Cheesy Manicotti

This is another great recipe from Paula Deen’s magazine (September/October 2012).  I will admit that I tried it but I didn’t like it.  I don’t like spinach and you definitely tasted the spinach.  My husband, on the other hand, really liked it a lot.  So I will definitely be making it again.  If you’re making it for your family and some of them don’t like spinach, see my notes below about how I’m going to do it next time so both of us are happy!

Ingredients:

  • 1 (8-ounce) package manicotti
  • 1 (15-ounce) container ricotta cheese
  • 1 (10-ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
  • 3 cups shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
  • 1 cup shredded provolone cheese
  • ½ cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon dried parsley
  • 1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
  • 1 (25-ounce) jar tomato and basil pasta sauce

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350.  Spray a 13x9x2-inch dish with nonstick cooking spray.

Cook manicotti according to package directions; drain and set aside.

In a large bowl, stir together ricotta, spinach, 1-1/2 cups mozzarella cheese, 1 cup shredded provolone cheese, ½ cup shredded Parmesan cheese, 2 large eggs, 1 tablespoon dried parsley and 1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning.

Spoon cheese mixture into manicotti.  Pour half of pasta sauce into prepared pan.  Place stuffed manicotti over sauce.  Pour remaining sauce over manicotti.  Sprinkle with remaining 1-1/2 cups mozzarella cheese.

Bake 30 to 45 minutes or until hot and bubbly.

NOTES:

1.       Don’t overcook the manicotti.  I overcooked mine just a little and several of them had a tendency to tear.  I was still able to get them stuffed but some of them were pretty messed up.

2.       If you don’t want to buy a block of provolone, you can substitute pretty much any other kind of cheese and it won’t make much difference.

3.       I would definitely use about another 1 cup of spaghetti sauce.  It wasn’t quite enough in our opinions.

4.       Here’s what I’m going to do next time so both my husband and I will enjoy this dish (since I don’t like spinach).  I’m going to use half the amount of spinach called for.  After I get everything but the spinach mixed together, divide the cheese mixture into two bowls.  Put the spinach in one bowl and mix.  You’ll end up with half the manicotti with spinach and half without.

5.       I didn’t realize until I was typing the recipe that I forgot to put the mozzarella on top of the manicotti.  I must have put it all in the filling.  So if you look at the picture and wonder where the cheese is, that’s what happened.  Next time I’ll try to do it right!

Asparagus Pizza

My husband and daughter love asparagus so when I saw the Asparagus Pizza recipe in Eating Well Magazine, I knew I had to eventually make it.  But before I got around to it, another blogger made it and made some really great changes to it.  And then after I made it, I have a few changes for next time.

So here is the modified recipe courtesy of Eating Well Magazine, The Cutting Edge of Ordinary, and Homemakersdaily.  Enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon oil for roasting asparagus
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons olive oil for brushing top of pizza
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 1 pound asparagus
  • 1 pound pizza dough (you can purchase pre-made dough or make your own)
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese (I used some parmesan, too – and maybe a little more than 1 cup of mozzarella – I didn’t really measure)
  • salt & pepper

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Place asparagus spears on a greased baking sheet.  Coat the asparagus with about a tablespoon of oil and season with salt & pepper.  Roast at 400 for about 10 minutes.  Set aside.

Combine 1-1/2 tablespoons oil and the minced garlic in a bowl.  Set aside.

Once the asparagus is cool enough to handle, trim the spears to about 6 inches long.

Using your hands or a small roller, roll your pizza dough onto your pizza pan.  Brush dough with the garlic/olive oil mixture.  Arrange the spears in a circular pattern on the dough with the tips facing out.  Top with cheese.

Bake at 425 degrees for 10 to 15 minutes or until crispy & golden.  Yield:  1 pizza.

NOTE:  I used my pizza dough recipe (see below) which actually makes two crusts.   I used the second crust and the leftover asparagus pieces to make a second pizza.  On the second pizza, I cut the leftover spears into 1-inch pieces, spread them over the pizza and topped the asparagus with mozzarella cheese and some grated parmesan.  My family preferred the second pizza because they said it was easier to eat.  So next time, I’ll chop the asparagus into 1-inch pieces.  It’s not as pretty, but it’s more practical.

I made my pizza crust whole wheat.  Using my recipe (below), I used 1-1/2 cups wheat flour and 1 cup white.  My husband thought it was fine but my daughter thought the wheat flavor was a little strong.  Next time I’ll probably do half and half of the two flours.

Also, if you use a pizza stone, those directions are available on The Cutting Edge of Ordinary.