Category Archives: Western food

Chicken Cacciatore

Ok time to post a new recipe… last night I made Chicken Cacciatore for DH. I have never made it before but I remember my dad making it when we were growing up.

Here is my version, you will need:

Olive oil
2-4 cloves of garlic – I put mine thru a garlic press
½ of a large cooking onion or one small cooking onion – finely diced
2 stalks of celery – finely diced
1-2 handfuls of mushrooms – sliced
½ a large red pepper – sliced
2 chicken thighs
2 Chicken legs
White grape juice
Oregano
Basil
1 large can of whole roma tomatoes
1 small can of tomato paste

In a heavy bottom dutch oven type pot (must be able to go in the oven) heat some oil (just enough to coat the bottom of the pot) and sauté the onions, celery, mushrooms, garlic and peppers for about 5 minutes. Remove from the pan and reserve in a bowl. If the bottom of the pot is dry add a bit more oil. Brown the chicken on all sides. Add the veggies back to the pot and deglaze with a bit of white grape juice. Add a good sprinkling of oregano and basil ( I also add paprika and cayenne pepper to add some zip) add the tomatoes and tomato paste. Bring to a bubble then put a lid on the pot and put in a 350F oven for 45 min.

Serve over any type of pasta you like… I love whole wheat spaghetti I also served with warm French bread and asparagus.

Herb & Asiago Foccacia Bread

I recently discovered that it is not all that hard to make homemade bread. We joined our friends for dinner on Easter and I brought this yummy bread with me to share. It is a bit time consuming but great to make on a lazy Sunday afternoon.

Recipe is derived from a recipe in the Joy of Cooking (only my favourite cooking book ever!)

1package (2 1/4 teaspoons) Active Dry Yeast
1 1/3 cup warm water (should feel hot running out of the tap… but not so hot you can’t put your finger under it)
Add:
3 1/2 to 3 3/4 cups of flour (I split it 1/2 white four & 1/2 whole wheat)
2 TBS Olive oil (I was generous with the Extra Virgin olive oil 🙂
1 TBS spoon Salt
1 TSB herbs of your choice- I used an Italian mix but I think anything you like would work like rosemary, oregano, basil etc.

Now I have a fabulous restaurant grade Kitchen Aid mixer that I use to mix the dough because I’m too wimpy to knead the dough by hand… so here is the the method using a dough hook on a mixer.

Combine in a large mixing bowl the water and yeast and let stand for 5 minutes.

Add the flour, oil, salt and herbs. Mix for 1 minute on low speed to blend all the ingredients together. Knead for 10 minutes on medium speed untill the dough is smooth and elastic. If the dough is not coming together add water 1 TBS at a time. Or if it is too sticky add 1 TBS of Flour at a time until the desired consistency is reached. Transfer the dough to a bowl lightly coated with olive oil. Drizzle oil of the ball of dough. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place for 1-1 1/2 hours (dough should at least double in size)

Preheat oven to 400 F. Put your pizza (baking) stone in the oven and pre-heat for 45 mins. Punch dough down and roll dough untill it is about 1inch thick. Take out your pizza stone and dust with cornmeal. Place flattened dough on stone. (if you do not have a pizza or baking stone use a baking sheet that has been greased and dusted with cornmeal) Dimple the top of the dough with your fingers and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with herbs and grated Asiago cheese. (if you don’t want cheese you can just sprinkle with corse salt or herbs or leave it plain).

Bake the foccaccia untill golden brown, about 25 min. Remove bread from oven and place on rack to cool or serve hot.

I love eating warm foccaccia bread with olive oil and balsamic Vinager like they serve it in medditeranean restaurants. Or you can slice and make in to sadwiches or panini’s.

Fish Bouillabaisse

Yesterday I was asking DH what he wanted for dinner and he said how about some fish? Instantly I was inspired by a little French restaurant in our town called “Bouchons”. They serve amazing French food in a great Bistro style atmosphere. Every time I go there I get the Fish Bouillabaisse and it is amazing. So yesterday I tried to see if I could get something close.

After much internet searching and reviewing recipes I chose this one from Epicurious (one of my favs):
RECIPE

All I can say is AMAZING!!!!!!!

I made a few changes:
1) I used a combination of clam nectar and lobster stock in place of the seafood stock. How can you go wrong with lobster 🙂
2) by accident I bought canned crushed tomatoes instead of whole tomatoes so I used the big can of crushed tomatoes and a small can of diced tomatoes. It gave the broth a very tomato-y taste that I enjoyed but still had the chunk’s of tomatoes that you would get from using whole tomatoes.
3) I used cod, prawns, scallops and mussels.

Then I served generous portions in a bowl with a side plate of fresh rye baguette and herbed butter.

The recipe was suprisingly easy and quick to make. We had come home from a soccer game and I had dinner on the table in approx 30mins.

DH loved it so I guess it was a success… oh and me too.

Note: also makes great leftovers the next day.

Stuffed Zucchini

With all the changes going on in my life I have not had the time that I usually do to tend to my garden. When the DF and I finally got around to weeding I found that our zucchini had grown to monstrous sizes. The neighbour took a few but I still had two huge ones left. So I had to come up with a few recipes to use them up. Here is a very yummy recipe that I made up

One huge zucchini cut lengthwise and de-seeded
1Tbs Oil
1 lb ground turkey
1 onion diced
2 clove garlic
1tsp dried oregano
2 tsp pesto
¾ cup Grated Asiago cheese (or any other strong Italian cheese)
Salt & pepper to taste

In a large pan heat the oil and then fry the onions until translucent. Then add the ground turkey & Garlic. Brown meat. Then add the oregano and Pesto. Fry for 10 min.

Remove pan from heat and allow to cool slightly. Pre-heat oven to 375F. Mix in ½ c of the grated cheese. Season to taste with salt & pepper. Then Stuff the zucchini with the mixture. Top with the remaining cheese. Place on a baking sheet, cover with tinfoil and bake in the oven for 30-45 min. Test doness by poking the flesh of the zucchini with a fork. The flesh should be soft… but not mushy. Pull off the foil and broil till the cheese on the top is bubbly and brown.

Cut crossways and serve desired pieces. Can be a side dish or a main entrée.

Hope you enjoy
Amira

Chicken Alfredo

Last week I made my Fiancée and nice sit down meal during the week. Normally we are too busy during the week to really enjoy a nice dinner… so it was a nice treat. Please note this is my no stretch of the imagination a low fat recipe 😉

1Tbs Olive Oil
1 clove crushed garlic
1/2 onion diced very finely
2 boneless Skinless Chicken breasts
2 cups chopped mushrooms (I prefer brown mushrooms as they have more flavor)
3 Tbs butter
Flour
approx 500ml Cream (I used half and half… but you could use milk if you wanted)
1-3 Tbs Pesto (I use homemade Pesto with garlic basil, parmesan cheese pinenuts and olive oil)
1/2 lb asparagus – cut into bite sized pieces
Parmesan Cheese
Whole Wheat Fettuccini Noodles (have to counter balance some of the fat 😉

Heat the oil in a large deep skillet. Sauté the garlic and Onions until the onions are translucent. Then add chicken. Cook until there is no pink showing and add the mushrooms. Sauté for 5 minutes. Set aside in a bowl. Melt the butter in the same skillet. Add enough flour to the pan to soak up all the butter. Then cook the butter and flout until it just starts to brown. Then add the cream gradually whisking all the while to ensure you don’t get any lumps in your sauce. Add in the pesto. Turn down to medium heat and continue to stir. The sauce with continue to thicken. Keep adding milk or cream to keep the desired consistency.

At this point you can cook the pasta according to the directions on the package.

After cooking the sauce on Med for 10 minutes add back the chicken and mushrooms. bring back to a boil and add the asparagus. Then turn down to low to keep warm until the pasta is done. At this point be sure to taste the sauce and season with salt and pepper as needed. Once pasta is cooked you can either stir the pasta into the sauce or serve the sauce over the pasta on the plate. Garnish with grated parmesan Cheese

Lemon & Rosemary Roast Chicken

I made this on Sunday night for dinner at my parents. It is so zesty and flavourful.

1 whole roasting chicken (approx 5lbs)
3 lemons
5 sprigs fresh rosemary
3 Tbs Olive Oil
1 tsp each of Salt & Pepper

Set oven to 350F. In a small bowl combine oil, juice of one lemon, 2 sprigs of rosemary (stripped off the stem and roughly chopped) and salt and pepper. Whisk together. Take the remaining two lemons and poke all over with a fork. bash the 3 remaining rosemary sprigs with the back of a knife to relase the oils. Wash out your chicken. Stuff the lemons and whole rosemary sprigs inside the cavity of the chicken. Close the chicken up with toothpicks. Then rub the outside with the oil and lemon juice mixture. Bake at 350F for 1 hour. Then turn temp up to 375 for another hour. … for the last 1/2 hour baste the chicken with the drippings in the bottom of the pan. Take out of oven and let rest covered in foil for 5 minutes before serving.

Spicy Cilantro Yogurt Marinade

I found a similar recipe to this on Epicurious.com and adjusted it to my own taste. DF and I really enjoyed it.

3 or so Garlic cloves – Chopped finely
1 Jalapeno chopped finely
3 green onions chopped
½ bunch of fresh cilantro roughly chopped
½ Cups (approx) of Plain Yogurt
2 limes – zest the skin and Squeeze the juice
2 hot red chilies (I use Thai chilies)
Salt to taste
3 Tbs of olive oil

Mix all the ingredients to taste. I added extra olive oil to make it more liquidy. Pour over chicken pieces (I cut up a whole chicken, but you can use what ever cut of chicken you like) Yields enough to cover about 6 chicken breasts. Allow chicken to marinate for 2-8 hours. Then grill chicken basting with the marinade regularly. Or roast in the oven at 350ºF for 20-25 minutes for boneless and 25-35 minutes for bone-in. I served with rice and Basil Green Beans