Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Baked Chicken Caprese

Photo courtesy The Cooking Corner
    Basil is one of my favorite herbs. The smell is clean, fresh and well, bright and perky. It's not too over powering like oregano or cilantro and honestly, is just an easy plant to grow. I also love cooking Italian dishes and basil often pairs perfectly with a good '"red sauce", and with the tomatoes and mozzarella of bruschetta, or can also brighten up a pizza. 
   So far, one of my favorite recipes with basil has been a Caprese Baked Chicken. It was quick, easy and had a bright taste topped with gooey cheese. What's not to like?

Baked Chicken Caprese
4 thin boneless, skinless chicken breasts or 2 large split in half
3 T. olive oil
1/2 tsp. cracked black pepper
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/2-3/4 cup Panko bread crumbs (or Italian)
1 pkg. sliced fresh mozzarella cheese (2 per serving)
2 medium tomatoes, sliced
dozen or so fresh basil leaves
2 T. balsamic vinegar (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray small sheet pan or baking dish.
Brush chicken with olive oil. Salt and pepper both sides.
Coat in bread crumbs and bake 10 minutes per side.
Remove from oven and top with sliced mozzarella and tomato. Return to oven with heat off. Let rest 5 minutes to melt cheese. Top with sliced basil and serve. (Option: drizzle tomato with balsamic vinegar before serving.)

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Shepherd's Pie in a Cast Iron

Our daughter loves to cook with cast iron. While home one weekend she made us her version of Shepherd's Pie. The twist was, that by using cast iron, she could do it all in one pan. Brown the burger (or any ground meat) on the stove top, then make your layers and pop it in the oven. Simple is very good and the layer of cheese on top - even better.

1 lb. ground beef or other meat (venison, turkey etc.)
1  pkg. (16 oz.) frozen mixed vegetables (or choice of leftover cooked veggies)
4 cups seasoned mashed potatoes
8 oz. (1 cup) shredded cheddar cheese
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Brown meat in cast iron skillet. Drain. 
Place vegetables on meat (in skillet) and sprinkle with salt and pepper. 
Top with mashed potatoes, spreading to cover. 
Bake 30 minutes. Remove from oven, top with cheese, continue baking 10 minutes or until cheese melts. 
 Let rest for 5 or 10 minutes. Serves 6.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Baked (not fried) Pickles

     While writing an article on fair foods, I came across a recipe for fried pickles. Well not quite fried, they are baked instead. If I can bake something instead of mess with hot grease, I usually take that option. These turned out to be quick and easy to make. Since I used "Wickles Pickles," which have a little more kick, these "baked" pickles had some kick, too. It was an interesting experiment and well worth the try if you like pickles and a little zing.

Baked (not fried) Pickles
1 cup sliced pickles
1 cup Panko bread crumbs
2 T. melted butter

1 tsp. dill
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. cayenne (optional)
salt and pepper
1/2 cup flour
2 eggs, beaten

Preheat oven to 450 degrees and spray coat a baking sheet.

Mix Panko crumbs, butter, dill, garlic, cayenne, salt and pepper in small bowl.

Put flour in separate small bowl or rimmed dish.

Crack eggs into small bowl and beat until blended.

Dredge pickle slices in flour, then dip in eggs and then coat in Panko crumbs mixed with seasonings. Lay pickles on baking sheet in single rows. Repeat process until all pickles are used.

Bake for 15 minutes.

Best served with sauce for dipping.

Taste Of Home Recipe of the Day