Thursday, December 31, 2020

Southern-Style Smothered Chicken

I don't know what it is about this recipe for Southern-Style Smothered Chicken. There's nothing earth-shattering about the ingredients or the cooking method but it is one of the coziest, tastiest meals I make. And I've made it a lot since I discovered it this spring. For some reason it reminds us of egg-foo yung, which makes zero sense but we all love it so we just go with it.

It's an easy recipe but since we prefer to eat saucy chicken dishes off the bone it does take some time management and prep work to get dinner on the table quickly. We like this with rice and steamed broccoli.

Southern-Style Smothered Chicken
As seen on Cook's Country

3 pounds bone-in chicken pieces (split breasts cut in half crosswise, drumsticks, and/or thighs)
Salt and pepper
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 onions, chopped fine
2 celery ribs, chopped fine
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon dried sage leaves (1/4 teaspoon ground sage)
2 cups chicken broth
1 tablespoon cider vinegar

Season chicken with salt and pepper. Put 1/2 cup flour in a plastic food storage bag and add all the chicken. Seal the bag and toss to coat. 

Heat oil in Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add half of chicken to pot, skin side down, and cook until deep golden brown, 4 to 6 minutes per side; transfer to plate. Repeat with remaining chicken, adjusting heat if flour begins to burn. 

Pour off all but 2 tablespoons fat and return pot to medium heat. Add onions, celery, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and cook until softened, 6 to 8 minutes. Stir in garlic, sage, and remaining 2 tablespoons flour and cook until vegetables are well coated with flour and garlic is fragrant, about 1 minute. Whisk in broth, scraping up any browned bits. 

Nestle chicken into sauce, add any accumulated juices from plate, and bring to boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer until breasts register 160 degrees and drumsticks/thighs register 175 degrees, 30 to 40 minutes. 

If you want to remove the chicken from the bone like we do, transfer chicken to a plate and place in the fridge to cool before removing the skin and bones. While the chicken is cooling, stir vinegar into sauce and season with salt and pepper to taste. 

Either add chicken pieces back to the pot and toss to coat or pour sauce over chicken. Serve over white rice.

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Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Biscuits and Gravy Make Ahead Breakfast Casserole

We love biscuits and gravy around here. If we see it on a restaurant menu, we order it. Since we live in the Northeast that doesn't happen often, so I usually just make it at home using this excellent recipe I've had for years. It's savory and sweet and very addictive. 

But then I saw this recipe for Biscuits and Gravy Egg Bake on Pinch of Yum and knew it would end up being a family favorite. I was particularly excited for the chiles in the gravy.

The recipe calls for canned dough, but making your own biscuit dough is ridiculously easy so I went that route. I did a quick Google search and found this one from Sally's Baking Addiction and I will never use another recipe. So, so good. I was just sad we didn't have any jam or jelly in the house for the leftover biscuits.

What I love about this recipe is that you can make it ahead and then bake it the next morning. It's perfect for the holidays - a few friends made it for Christmas after I raved about it on Facebook - or to keep in the fridge for busy weekday mornings.

Biscuits and Gravy Make Ahead Breakfast Casserole
As seen on Pinch of Yum

Green Chile Sausage Gravy
1 lb. breakfast sausage
4 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons flour
2 1/2 cups milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 can (4oz) chopped green chiles

8 eggs
1/2 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
6-8 jumbo buttermilk biscuits (from a can or make your own, recipe below), cut into cubes
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

If making your own biscuits, do that first using the recipe below. Save 6-8 biscuits for this recipe and bake off the rest.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. If you're making the casserole in advance, do this the next morning. Spray a 9 x 13 pan with cooking spray.

Brown the sausage in a large skillet then remove to a plate. Melt the butter in the now-empty skillet over medium-low heat. Whisk in flour until thickened, 2-3 minutes. Whisk in the 2 1/2 cups milk, salt, and diced green chiles, then add the sausage. Stir to combine.

Whisk the eggs, 1/2 cup milk and salt in a 4-cup measuring cup or large bowl. Place half the biscuits in the greased 9 x13 pan. Pour the eggs over the top. Sprinkle with the cheese, then dollop some of the gravy (be sure to save some gravy for later) on top. Add the rest of the biscuit cubes.

At this point you can cover and refrigerate overnight. In the morning, preheat the oven, and warm up the extra gravy while you bake the casserole for 35-45 minutes, until the eggs are set. It will take longer to cook if the casserole is cold.

Serve slices warm from the oven, with a scoop of sausage gravy over the top (thin it out with a little more milk

Homemade Buttermilk Biscuits
As seen on Sally's Baking Addiction

2 1/2 cups flour, plus extra for dusting
2 tablespoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 stick very cold unsalted butter, cubed
1 cup cold buttermilk
2 teaspoons honey

Preheat oven to 425.

Add the flour, baking powder, and salt to a large food processor and pulse to combine. Add the cubed butter and pulse until you have coarse crumbs form. Pour into a large bowl. Make a well in the center of the mixture and add the buttermilk and honey. Fold together with a rubber spatula until it begins to come together. Do not overwork the dough.

Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface and gently bring together with generously floured hands. The dough will be sticky so have extra flour nearby. Flatten the dough into a 3/4 inch thick rectangle, fold one side into the center, then the other side. Turn the dough horizontally, flatten into a 3/4 inch thick rectangle again. Repeat three more times.

Cut the dough into circles with a biscuit cutter or glass. (Tip: Do not twist the biscuit cutter when pressing down into the dough– this seals off the edges of the biscuit which prevents them from fully rising.) Re-roll scraps and cut more biscuits until all the dough is used.

Bake for 15-20 minutes or until tops are golden brown. Cover leftovers tightly and store at room temperature or in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

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Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Chicken Milanese

My friend, Dana, recently posted a photo of Chicken Milanese from her anniversary dinner and I had to make it ASAP. Crispy chicken. Bright arugula salad. I could almost taste it.

I followed the same breading and shallow frying method I use for Chicken with Prosciutto, Brie and Arugula and served simple fried potatoes on the side. Absolutely delicious meal. 

Chicken Milanese with Arugula Salad  

1/2 cup flour
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup Panko breadcrumbs
1 cup Italian breadcrumbs

Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
4 (6 oz) boneless, skinless, chicken breasts
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided

1/2 lb baby arugula, rinsed and spun dry
tablespoons fresh squeeze lemon juice
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
grated pecorino/parmesan cheese
chopped fresh tomatoes
thinly sliced red onion

Place flour, eggs and breadcrumbs in three separate shallow bowls or shallow dishes. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Place a wire baking rack over a baking sheet; set aside.

Place each chicken breast between two pieces of waxed paper (or a freezer-style plastic bag) and pound to 1/4-inch thickness. Season chicken on both sides with salt and pepper. Dredge each breast in the flour; tap off excess. Dip into the egg wash and let excess drip off, and then dredge on both side in the breadcrumbs.

Add 3 tablespoons of butter and 1 tablespoon of oil to a large nonstick pan and heat until the butter is melted and sizzling. Place 2 chicken breasts in the pan and cook until golden brown on the first side. Flip over and continue cooking until golden brown on the second side and the chicken is cooked through, about 5 to 6 minutes total. 

Put the cooked chicken on the wire rack and keep warm in the oven while you cook the other pieces. Add more butter and oil as needed.

In a medium bowl, toss the arugula with lemon juice, salt, pepper, oil and grated cheese. Add chopped tomatoes (I used grape tomatoes since it's October and tomatoes are out of season) and very thinly sliced red onion, to taste.

To serve: place one chicken breast on a plate and top with some of the arugula salad mixture.

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Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Greek Meatballs

I am such a sucker for Greek flavors. I've been thinking about Greek meatballs forever and finally decided to make them when my friend, Patty, brought me some amazing feta from New York City. She has family up there and whenever she visits she brings home all sorts of Greek delicacies. This feta has spoiled me for all supermarket feta. It's tangy and salty and just plain perfect.

After I posted these to my personal Facebook page, my friend Jaida mentioned that she makes her Greek turkey meatballs with spinach. I wish I'd thought of that because you may notice that we didn't have a veggie side dish. We all thought the texture of the meatballs was perfect so I don't want to add spinach to them directly, but next time I make these I'll definitely wilt some spinach with sliced garlic to serve alongside.

There are a lot of recipes for Greek meatballs out there so I looked at a few and pulled ingredients that sounded good to me. This is my take. Adjust as you like. 

UPDATE: December 2020

I turned leftover meatballs into Greek meatballs sandwiches. Homemade naan, meatballs broken into pieces, lettuce, tomato and tzatziki. Utterly and completely delicious (and very messy). I highly recommend doing this with leftover meatballs.

Greek Meatballs
2 lbs. ground beef
1/4 cup finely minced red onion
1/2 to 1 cup feta, crumbled

1 tablespoons dried oregano

1 teaspoon cumin
2 teaspoons dried dill
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

2/3 cup panko
1/3 cup milk
2 large eggs, slightly beaten

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper
Preheat the oven to 415 degrees. Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl and mix well. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Line a baking sheet with foil and top with a sheet of parchment paper. Spray the parchment with cooking spray. Form the meat mixture into meatballs. I used an ice cream scoop for larger meatballs.  Place the meatballs on the baking sheet. 
Bake for 30 minutes if you made larger meatballs. Bake for 15 minutes if you used a 1 to 1 1/2 tablespoon scoop. Meatballs are done when the internal temp is at least 165 degrees. 
Serve with rice, garlicky sauteed spinach and tzatziki. 

1 medium cucumber, peeled and seeded
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 small garlic clove, minced
Dried dill, to taste
2 cups plain Greek nonfat yogurt
Squeeze of fresh lemon juice

Grate the cucumber over the large holes of a box grater. Place the cucumber in a bowl and add the salt, pepper, garlic, and dried dill. Stir to combine. Add the yogurt and some lemon juice and mix well. Taste and adjust the seasonings, as needed. Chill before serving.


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Friday, July 24, 2020

Pizza Friday: Pierogi Pizza

This is one of the easiest pizzas I make and easily one of the tastiest. That's saying a lot because you all know how much we love homemade pizza around here.

Pierogi pizza

I first saw this pizza over at Dinner: A Love Story. One bite and we all said it tasted just like a pierogi. The soft potatoes, the sharp cheddar, the caramelized onions. Such a great combo.

The first time I made it with only cheddar cheese and it was too greasy for us, so I swapped out half the cheddar for mozzarella. Sometimes I bake the potato slices like I do for my Roasted Potato and Rosemary Pizza but most of the time I just parboil them.

Pierogi Pizza
Inspired by Dinner: A Love Story

3 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, thinly sliced
salt, to taste
4 medium red potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
1 16-ounce ball pizza dough (or make your own), room temperature
6 oz shredded or deli sliced mozzarella cheese
6 oz shredded or deli sliced sharp cheddar cheese
fresh thyme or rosemary, minced (optional)

Preheat oven to 500°F.

Heat oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium heat. Add the sliced onions, season with a little salt, and cook for at least 25-30 minutes, allowing them to caramelize.

Add potato slices to a pot of salted water and bring to a boil. Cook for 5 minutes, then drain well.

Lightly grease a standard baking sheet. Place the dough in the middle. Press and stretch it out with your fingers so it reaches the edges. Drizzle with a bit of olive oil and rub to coat the dough. Cover with both cheeses, leaving a border around the edges. Put the potatoes on top of the cheese in a single layer, then top with the caramelized onions. Sprinkle with the thyme or rosemary, if using.

Bake for 15 minutes until cheese is bubbly and crust is  golden brown. Remove from the oven and transfer pizza to a cutting board. Slice and serve.

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Thursday, June 25, 2020

Zucchini Muffins

I can't believe I've never baked with zucchini. We love zucchini and I use it a lot in savory recipes like Crispy Baked Zucchini Fries, Zucchini Corn Pizza, Cheesy Zucchini Rice, zucchini fritters, on skewers, in summer pastas, etc. But this was my first time baking with it.

Zucchini muffins

The result? So good!! None of us could taste the zucchini. Now, I'll admit this is not exactly the healthiest recipe. If you're looking for a healthy way to get your kids to eat veggies, this isn't it. But they were delicious and a great way to use up zucchini that was past its prime.

The original recipe said it would yield 12 muffins. I got 15. I'm also not one to measure certain ingredients so I probably had more than 2 cups of shredded zucchini.

Zucchini Muffins
As seen on Land O Lakes

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
2 large eggs
1 medium (2 cups) zucchini, shredded

Heat oven to 350. Put paper baking cups into 12 (or more) muffin pan cups; set aside.

Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt in bowl; mix well. Combine butter and eggs in bowl; stir into flour mixture just until moistened. Stir in zucchini.

Use an ice cream scoop to fill prepared muffin pan cups three-fourths full with batter. Bake 22-25 minutes or until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean. Cool 5 minutes in pan; remove to cooling rack.
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Thursday, June 11, 2020

Tired of warm beer at parties? Enter the NewAir Beer Froster

This post is sponsored by NewAir. I received a Beer Froster in exchange for a review. All opinions are my own.

Hi folks. Steve here with a guest blog post. Sadly, alcohol doesn’t agree with Sarah (more often than not she’s left battling a nasty migraine) so I’m our household’s official subject matter expert on all things alcohol. When the good folks at NewAir offered us an opportunity to try out their Beer Froster beer fridge, I offered to write the product review.

Bottom line: I’d recommend this whole-heartedly to anyone who’s ever had to suffer through warm beer at a party. Friends don’t let friends drink warm beer, right? But party planning can sometimes be a mad rush to get ready and mistakes get made.

(Remember parties? Those were fun. Hopefully we’ll be entertaining safely again soon but we’ll definitely be out of practice).

I’ve been there; I’m sure you have, too. You get to the party, or worse, you are the host of the party and you see the beer sitting in a tub of ice. Maybe not even submerged in the ice - sitting on top like it’s being merchandised in a store. Then your friend reaches in and hands you a Trojan brew. You have your doubts, but the bottle or can is cold to the touch. So you pop the top and take a swig only to be greeted by beer the temperature of warm chicken broth that had been sitting in the August sun since about a half hour before you arrived.


Well, enter the Beer Froster! This product holds 125 cans. I’m a bottle guy and I got more than 50 bottles in there. Perfect amount for a party. You hit the Turbo button and the compressor on this baby runs a cool 24 degrees for an hour, getting your beer nice and cold. It takes away the shame and stigma of serving less than ideal beer to family and friends.

If you’re like Sarah and the ultimate planner, just remember to hit the Party button when you wake up and the compressor runs a good 6 hours at 24 degrees for a slower chill down. This also helps ward off those friends who stand there with the door open taking 10 minutes to choose a beer. There’s even a handy light that you can activate from the outside so you can easily see the selections through the glass front door.

The Beer Froster is true to its name, though I will offer some pro tips if you should decide to add this little wonder to your man cave or kitchen. First, arrange the shelves for optimum storage. It’s designed for cans, but bottles require a little care to load in properly. Also, allow for about 24 hours for the fridge to get to a cool 24 degrees the first time you turn it on. The last point, and this is my only criticism of the appliance, is that the compressor does emit an audible hum that some may find distracting. After experiencing the low hum we made the choice to locate the fridge in our basement instead of the kitchen just because we are overly sensitive to noise. Your mileage may vary.

All in all, the Beer Froster certainly lives up to its name in helping to insure the beer you are serving, or enjoying alone, is crisp and cold. In my heyday I used to go to this bar that touted the “Coldest beer in Trenton (N.J.)” and it was. Often you got served a beer that had frozen solid and they had to swap it out for a new one. I haven’t had a colder beer since then, until this beauty came into my life.

NewAir is offering readers 20% off the Beer Froster! Use code SARAH_BATES at checkout.
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Thursday, May 28, 2020

Sheet Pan Kielbasa, Potatoes and Veggies

I'm very late to the sheet pan dinner craze but this is one that will be on rotation forever. I've already made it twice and it's just so, so good.

Sheet pan

I love that you can make this however you want with whatever veggies and meat you want. It's a one-pan meal that hits all the right notes with minimal cleanup.

Sheet Pan Kielbasa, Potatoes and Veggies

1 package (14-16oz) precooked sausage or kielbasa cut in half lengthwise and sliced into 1/2" half-moons
1 medium onion (red, white, whatever you have), cut into bite sized pieces
2 broccoli crowns, separated into florets
1 small head cauliflower, separated into florets
1/2 lb red potatoes, peeled and cut into small, bite-size pieces
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon paprika
1 tablespoon onion powder
1/2 tablespoon garlic powder
1/2 tablespoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated black pepper, or to taste
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese (or mozzarella, Monterey Jack, colby, whatever you want)

Preheat the oven to 450 and line a baking sheet with a couple sheets of aluminum foil.

Combine the sausage, onion, broccoli, cauliflower and potatoes in a large bowl. Season with the oil, paprika, onion and garlic powders, dried thyme, salt and pepper. Mix well. Dump onto the baking sheet and spread out in an even layer. Put sheet pan in the oven.

Roast for 25 minutes. Remove pan from the oven and test to make sure the potatoes are fully cooked (use the tip of a knife). If they aren't, put back in the oven for another 5-10 minutes. Once the potatoes are cooked through, top with the shredded cheddar cheese and put back in for another 5 minutes to melt the cheese.
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Thursday, March 05, 2020

Indian Butter Chicken

Added another Indian dish to my repertoire last night. Woohoo!

Indian butter chicken

This Indian Butter Chicken was so darn good. I combined the cooking method from my standby Chicken Tikka with the ingredients in For the Love of Cooking's Butter Chicken. I ended up doubling the sauce because (1) we love extra sauce and (2) I didn't see the point in saving less than half a can of coconut milk. Dump it all in!

My family absolutely loved this, which is saying a lot because they're big fans of my chicken tikka and kind of hate when I insist on trying new recipes. What can I say, I like variety.

Indian Butter Chicken
Combo of Hunt, Cook, Eat and For the Love of Cooking

3/4 cup full fat plain Greek yogurt
Juice from 1/2 a lemon
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, grated
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons garam masala
1 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne
1 teaspoon kosher salt
6 boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into bite-size pieces

4 tablespoons butter
2 15oz cans diced tomatoes, pureed with a blender (DON'T use tomato sauce)
1 teaspoon sugar
1 can full fat coconut milk
salt, to taste
Fresh cilantro

Basmati rice
Naan bread

Whisk the yogurt, lemon juice, fresh ginger, minced garlic, garam masala, turmeric, cumin, coriander, and cayenne pepper together in a large bowl. Add the chicken and stir to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

Preheat the oven to 350. Spread the chicken and marinade in a single layer on a baking sheet and cook for 30 minutes.

While the chicken is cooking, melt the butter in a 12-inch skillet over medium heat. Add the pureed tomatoes and sugar. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the coconut milk and cooked chicken with all the accumulated juices (don't omit that!) to the sauce and let simmer for another 10 minutes. Garnish with chopped cilantro. Taste and season with salt, if needed.

Serve over basmati rice with naan for soaking up the sauce.
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Thursday, February 20, 2020

Apricot and Mustard Baked Chicken

This Apricot and Mustard Baked Chicken has quickly become one of our favorite weeknight meals. The baking time is a bit long (longer than the original recipe states) but it's almost completely hands-off. The flavor is truly fantastic - the perfect combo of sweet and savory.

To blog

I like to serve this with mashed potatoes and a veggie (lately it's French cut green beans), but it would be equally good with rice.

Apricot and Mustard Baked Chicken
Slightly modified from Jenny Rosenstrach

6 to 8 skin-on chicken pieces (thighs or drumsticks)
Salt and pepper
3/4 cup apricot jam
2 tablespoons grainy mustard
1/4 cup water
Leaves from 6 sprigs fresh thyme, minced

Preheat the oven to 400°F.

Line a baking sheet with plenty of foil. This is key because the glaze is sticky and you don't want to spend the evening scrubbing the baking sheet. Place a piece of parchment paper over the last layer of foil. This is also key because the chicken won't stick to the parchment the way it will stick to the foil.

Place the chicken on the lined baking sheet and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake for 30 minutes.

While the chicken is baking, whisk together the jam, mustard, water, thyme, and a little salt and pepper in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat and allow to get slightly syrupy. Transfer to a 2-cup glass measuring cup to make it easier to pour.

After 30 minutes, take the chicken out of the oven and pour the sauce evenly over the chicken. Put back in the oven and continue baking for another 30 minutes. If you have a broiler, place the chicken under the broiler on the top rack so it gets golden and crispy.
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Thursday, January 23, 2020

Pioneer Woman's Lemon Pasta Pronto

The Pioneer Woman recently posted a video of herself making this recipe for Lemon Pasta Pronto on her Instagram stories. It sounded right up our alley so I printed out the recipe (fair warning, the recipe on the Food Network site doesn't include all the ingredients/directions).

To blog

Past experience has taught me that I can always add more lemon juice but I can't take it away so I was skeptical about using the juice of two lemons in this recipe. Sure enough, one was plenty.

We all LOVED this but I'm not sure I'll spend the extra money for the pancetta next time. Bacon would be just as good and a heck of a lot cheaper. I served this with an incredible beet, citrus and ricotta salad that I'll be blogging soon and it was just the thing to cut the richness of the pasta.

Lemon Pasta Pronto
Modified from the Pioneer Woman

Kosher salt
1 pound orecchiette
6 tablespoons butter, divided
1/2 lb pancetta or bacon, cut into bite-size pieces
1 teaspoon fresh thyme, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 yellow onion, diced
2 lemons, 1 juiced and both zested, divided
2 cups frozen peas, thawed
1 cup half and half
3/4 cup panko
1 cup grated pecorino

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta according to the package instructions.

While the water is coming to a boil, melt 3 tablespoons of butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the pancetta (or bacon) and cook until the fat starts to render and the pancetta gets crispy. Add the thyme, garlic and onions and cook until the onions soften, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the zest and juice of one lemon, the peas and half and half. Bring to a simmer and cook until slightly thickened, about 2 minutes.

In a small skillet, melt the remaining 3 tablespoons butter over medium-low heat. Add the panko and season with salt and pepper. Cook, tossing occasionally, until the panko is golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and add the zest of one lemon. Stir and then set aside.

Drain the pasta and add it to the skillet along with the pecorino. Toss together, taste and adjust the seasoning as needed. The original recipe calls for the juice of two lemons but a lot of people said it was too lemony. If you want more lemon flavor, add more juice. Remember, you can always add but you can't take away!

To serve, spoon some of the pasta into a bowl or on a pasta plate. Sprinkle some of the crispy panko on top.
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Thursday, January 09, 2020

Chicken Pizzaiola

This chicken pizzaiola is another one of those recipes that I've looked at countless times over the years and bypassed time and time again. Who knows why; it's not like it's a complicated recipe. My only note is to make sure you use plenty of pepperoni so you can really taste the flavor.

Chicken pizzaiola

Such an easy, delicious weeknight meal. I made my own quick pasta sauce but jarred would be fine, too.

Chicken Pizzaiola
From America’s Test Kitchen, modified from Pinch of Yum

3 cups of your favorite pasta sauce (or make your own, see note)
1 cup shredded Parmesan/pecorino cheese
4 large/6 small boneless skinless chicken breasts
2 ounces sliced pepperoni (see note)
1 cup sliced mozzarella
8 ounces spaghetti or other pasta

Heat the oven to 450. Spread pasta sauce into a 9×13 baking dish (I had 6 chicken breasts so I needed another small baking dish). Spread Parmesan/pecorino in a shallow dish.

Put one chicken breast at a time in a plastic food storage bag and pound to an even thickness. You don't want it too thin but it should be the same thickness throughout. Season all the chicken with salt and pepper, then coat with Parmesan/pecorino. Lay each piece of chicken on top of the sauce in a single layer. Bake for 25 minutes.

While the chicken bakes, cook pasta. Drain and toss with some olive oil to prevent sticking. Set aside until the chicken is done.

Remove the chicken from the oven and top each breast with a few slices pepperoni and mozzarella. Increase oven to 475 and bake until cheese melts, about 5 minutes.

Spoon some sauce from the baking dish into the pasta pot and toss to combine. To serve, put some pasta on a plate and top with a piece of chicken and some sauce.

1. It's really easy to throw together a quick pasta sauce. I usually just heat up a 28oz can of crushed tomatoes (rinse the can with some water and add to the pan so you get all the sauce from the can) and season with plenty of oregano. I had half an onion in the fridge so this time I minced that up and sauteed it in oil with some salt and pepper before adding the crushed tomatoes.

2. I hate excess grease on my pepperoni so I put three layers of paper towels on a plate and top with a single layer of pepperoni slices. Top with two more layers of paper towels and microwave 15 seconds, then another 15 seconds (don't do 30 seconds before the pepperoni can burn). Blot the grease off with the top paper towel layers.
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Wednesday, January 01, 2020

Everything Bagel Breakfast Casserole

I'm always on the lookout for new make-ahead breakfast casseroles. I love them for holidays because you do all the work the day before and then you get to enjoy a delicious breakfast with minimal effort the next morning. Just make sure you plan ahead because most of them need to bake for about an hour. My family is always hounding me to make the hour go by faster because they're starving.

Everything bagel casserole

I have a lot of Everything But the Bagel seasoning in my spice cabinet but if you don't, just use everything bagels instead of plain bagels.

Everything Bagel Breakfast Casserole
Adapted from Home Made Interest

5 plain bagels, cut into 1-inch cubes
8 oz. bacon, cooked and diced
8 oz. Jarlsberg cheese, shredded
8 oz. cream cheese, cut into 1-inch cubes
Everything But the Bagel seasoning, to taste
8 large eggs
2 cups half and half
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper

Spray a 9x13 inch casserole dish with cooking spray. Add half the bagel cubes to the casserole dish. Top with half the bacon, half the Jarlsberg and half the cream cheese. Sprinkle Everything But the Bagel seasoning evenly over the top. Repeat with another layer of bagel cubes, bacon, Jarlsberg, cream cheese and Everything But the Bagel seasoning.

Combine eggs, half and half, salt and pepper in a 4-cup measuring cup. Whisk until thoroughly combined, then pour evenly over the bagel pieces, making sure to cover all of them.

Cover the casserole with cling wrap and refrigerate overnight.

In the morning, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Remove the cling wrap and cover with aluminum foil. Bake for 40 minutes. Remove foil and continue to bake for 15 minutes.
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