Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Chicken Capri Deluxe

I have made some version of this recipe at least a dozen times in the past 6 months.  I'm not even sure if I've made it the same way twice.  The original Chicken Capri recipe is on page 214 of The South Beach Diet Cookbook.  Made as is, the recipe is great, but of course I have the need to tinker;-)  My tinkering has included substituting an Italian spice blend, basil, diced tomatoes with real garlic, store-bought marinara sauce, and of course left over quick red wine tomato sauce for the original ingredients. A couple of days ago I actually made this "deluxe" version for a Sunday lunch with friends. Everybody loved it, and I didn't spend hours in the kitchen.  As a matter of fact, you can have dinner on the table in 40 minutes (even with the deluxe version of the recipe).  Feel free to tinker - I probably will!

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Chicken Capri Deluxe
1 ricotta whip recipe - also used in the Penne Pasta Bake recipe (you can also substitute a simple Italian seasoning)
15 oz can of strained tomatoes (crushed, sauce, drained diced tomatoes, or your favorite store-bought marinara will work too)
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 teaspoon of oregano
6 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (sometimes I like to cut the breasts in half to make them even thiner)
1/4 cup of chicken broth
1 1/2 cups of shredded mozzarella
salt and pepper
olive oil

For the Ricotta Whip
1 (15 or 16 oz) tub of whole milk ricotta (use reduced fat to strictly adhere to South Beach principles)
1 egg
2 cloves of garlic
1/8 cup of freshly chopped parsley
1/8 cup of fresh rated Romano cheese
1/8 cup of fresh Parmesan cheese
salt and pepper
fresh basil

1) Heat oven proof pan for two minutes. Add a couple of tablespoons of olive oil to pan. Sprinkle one side of the chicken with salt and pepper and place seasoned side down in preheated pan.  Sear for 8 minutes.

2) Sprinkle the other side of chicken with salt and pepper. Flip chicken.  Add 1/4 cup of chicken broth, cover, and cook for 8 minutes.

3) While chicken is cooking preheat oven to 350 degrees and make the ricotta whip by adding all the ingredients to a bowl and whip with a fork.

4) Prepare sauce by adding strained tomatoes, 2 cloves of garlic, and 1 teaspoon of oregano to a bowl and mix thoroughly.

5) After chicken is done cooking on the second side, turn off the heat.  Top each chicken breast evenly with a large spoonful of the ricotta mixture.

6) Carefully top each chicken piece with tomato sauce mixture.

7) Sprinkle evenly with cheese and bake until cheese is lightly brown and bubbly - about 20 minutes.

8) Top with fresh basil and serve.  Be sure to scoop all the surrounding melted sauce and cheese with each chicken breast.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Mom's Potato Salad

Everyone loves my Mom's potato salad, even when I make it:-)  I have been making my mom's potato salad for the last several years, mostly for large gatherings.  My husband and I have been known to throw big "Open House" parties on the 4th of July.  That's just what we did this year so, of course, I had to make a big batch of potato salad.  This is one of those recipes that my mom doesn't have written down.  Years ago (and several times since) I had my mom talk me through her recipe. This year as I was making a large batch for our 4th of July party, I paid attention to measurements, so I can finally share the recipe with all who ask for it.  This recipe makes a very large batch (an amount I would take to a pot luck) so you can always cut it in half for a family weeknight dinner.

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Mom's Potato Salad

5 lb bag of russet potatoes
1 lb of bacon, cooked and crumbled
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
3 to 6 stalks of celery, chopped
7 eggs, hard boiled (6 chopped, one sliced)
2 cups of mayonnaise
2 tablespoons of yellow mustard
1/8 teaspoon of white pepper

1) Wash and boil the whole potatoes until fork tender 35 to 45 minutes (low boil).

2) Hard boil 7 eggs - I used an fun appliance my Mom bought me for Easter called "Egg Head" (similar  to this egg cooker).

NOTE:  if you want to make hard boiled eggs without an appliance review this link
Simply Recipes: How to make perfect hard boiled eggs

3) Bake the bacon - see recipe here.

4) Chop one medium onion and an equal amount of celery, about 3 to 6 stalks depending on size.

5) Peel the cooled potatoes.

6)  Dice the potatoes and place in large mixing bowl.

7) Add onions, celery, and chopped eggs to the diced potatoes.  (For the hard boiled eggs, I used a standard egg slicer by slicing the egg horizontally and vertically).  Save one egg for garnish.

8) Add crumbled bacon saving a small handful for garnish.  (I like to use kitchen scissors to cut small strips).  Top with 2 cups of mayonnaise, 2 tablespoons of mustard, and 1/8 teaspoon of white pepper.

9) Gently mix until all ingredients are completely incorporated, and garnish with sliced egg and bacon.

Note: I've also doubled the recipe for a huge crowd and used a red, white, and blue potato combination.


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