Autumn Chicken Pot Pie

1 small butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 1-inch cubes
2 tablespoons olive oil
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
8 ounces fresh wild mushrooms, cleaned and thinly sliced (about 3 1/2 to 4 cups)
1 shallot, minced
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups chicken broth
4 cups cooked shredded chicken
1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage leaves (or 1 teaspoon dried crumbled sage)
2 sheets frozen puff pastry (such as Pepperidge farm or Dafour’s), thawed in the refrigerator
Egg wash (2 tablespoons milk beaten with 1 egg)

1. Preheat the oven to 400° F.

2. Toss the squash with the olive oil and 2 tablespoons of the butter, season with salt and pepper and spread evenly on a rimmed baking sheet. Place in the oven to bake until tender and golden brown, about 30 minutes.

3. While the squash is cooking, melt the remaining butter in a large skillet over medium heat and cook the mushrooms and shallot, stirring frequently, about 3 minutes until lightly brown.

4. Add the flour, and cook, stirring constantly, until lightly brown, about 2 minutes longer. Slowly whisk in broth and bring to a low boil, stirring constantly.

5. Add the chicken, sage and cooked squash; season with salt and pepper and stir to mix. Reduce the heat and simmer about 5 minutes or until thick and creamy. Remove from the heat and allow to cool.

6. Meanwhile, flatten the puff pastry on a lightly floured surface, cut into a shape to fit the top of the container you are using (to slightly overlap). Fill the containers with the chicken filling and place the pastry over the dishes, allowing excess to drape about 1/2- inch over the sides. Repeat with the remaining cups. Brush the pastry with egg wash and place in the refrigerator to chill at least 1 hour.

7. When ready to cook, preheat the oven to 350°F. Place bowls on baking sheets and cut several slits into the tops of the pastry.

8. Place in the oven to bake 20 to 25 minutes until the pastry has puffed and is golden brown and the filling is warm through. Allow to cool about 5 minutes before serving, serve warm.

(courtesy of Sara Foster’s Southern Kitchen)


Tomatoes Provencal

1 ½ c fresh plain breadcrumbs
¼ c grated parmesan
1 T finely grated lemon zest
leaves from a few sprigs fresh thyme
2 T extra-virgin olive oil
coarse salt and ground pepper
4 large tomatoes cut into ½ inch slices

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly oil a 2-quart baking dish. In a bowl, combine 1 ½ c fresh plain breadcrumbs, 1/3 c grated Parmesan, 1 T finely grated lemon zest, leaves from a few sprigs fresh thyme and 2 T extra-virgin olive oil; season with coarse salt and ground pepper.

Arrange 4 large tomatoes cut into 1/2-inch slices, in prepared baking dish, overlapping slightly; season with salt and pepper. Top with breadcrumb mixture. Bake until tomatoes are tender and crumbs are golden brown, 15 to 20 minutes.

Really Simple Asian Slaw

Bag of carrot/cabbage slaw
5 green onions, chopped
½ c peanuts

3/4 C peanut oil
1/2 C sugar
1/4 C rice vinegar
2 T soy sauce

Mix all of salad contents in big bowl.

Pour dressing ingredients into small sauce pan. Bring the mixture to a rolling boil over medium high heat for 1 minute. Set aside to cool. Pour over the salad. Serve immediately.

Note: You could add any sort of vegetable to this, as well as chicken or shrimp to make it more of a main dish.

Truffle Mac and Cheese

2 T unsalted butter
good olive oil
½ lb shiitake mushrooms, stems removed and caps sliced 1/2-inch
½ lb cremini mushrooms, stems removed and caps sliced 1/2-inch
3 T cream sherry
Kosher salt
1 lb pasta such as cavatappi
3 oz white truffle butter, such as D’Artagnan
½ c all-purpose flour
1 qt whole milk, scalded
12 oz Gruyere cheese, grated (4 cups)
8 oz extra-sharp Cheddar, grated (2 1/2 to 3 cups)
1 t freshly ground black pepper
½ t ground nutmeg
2 garlic cloves, chopped
3 T chopped fresh parsley
½ c fresh white bread crumbs

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Heat the butter and 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large (12-inch) saute pan, add the mushrooms, and cook over medium heat for 3 to 5 minutes, until they are tender. Add the sherry and continue to saute for a few more minutes, until the sherry is absorbed. Set aside.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add a splash of olive oil and a pinch of salt. Add the pasta and cook for 6 to 8 minutes, until al dente. Drain well.

Meanwhile, melt the truffle butter in a large (4-quart) saucepan and whisk in the flour. Cook for 2 minutes over low heat, stirring constantly with a whisk. Slowly whisk in the hot milk and cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until the white sauce is thickened and creamy. Off the heat, add the Gruyere, Cheddar, 1 1/2 tablespoons salt, the pepper, and nutmeg.

Combine the pasta, sauce, and mushrooms in a large bowl and pour them into a 10 by 13 by 2-inch baking dish.
Place the garlic and parsley in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade and pulse until they’re minced. Add the bread crumbs and pulse to combine. Sprinkle the crumbs over the pasta and bake for 35 to 45 minutes, until the sauce is bubbly and the crumbs are golden brown. Serve hot.

Chicken Milanese with Arugula and Tomato Salad

For the salad:
1 T olive oil
2 T balsamic vinegar
½ carton of cherry tomatoes, sliced
¼ small red onion, sliced thin
1 T chopped fresh basil
kosher salt and pepper to taste
2 c baby arugula

For the chicken:
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
½ c Italian seasoned breadcrumbs
1/3 c grated parmesan cheese
1 lemon, juice of
1 T olive oil
kosher salt
fresh cracked black pepper
olive oil spray (or olive oil)

In a medium bowl, whisk olive oil and balsamic. Add tomatoes, basil and onions; season with salt and pepper, and toss. Set aside at least 10 minutes so the juices combine.

Preheat oven to 450°. Place a large baking pan in the oven to get hot.

Combine breadcrumbs and grated cheese in one bowl. In another bowl combine olive oil, lemon juice, and pepper.

Lightly pound chicken breasts (I used a turvis tumbler). Wash and dry cutlets.

Dip cutlets into lemon/oil mixture, then into breadcrumbs, pressing firmly to adhere. Remove the baking pan from the oven and spray with cooking spray. Place the chicken on the baking sheets and spray with olive oil spray on top.

Bake chicken, turning once halfway through for about 15-17 minutes total, or until chicken is golden. Remove from the oven and top with arugula and tomato salad on top.

Tomato Soup

3 lb ripe plum tomatoes, cut in half lengthwise
¾ c plus 1 T good olive oil
1 T kosher salt
1 ½ t freshly ground black pepper
2 c chopped yellow onions (2 onions)
6 garlic cloves, minced
2 T unsalted butter
½ t crushed red pepper flakes
1 (28-ounce) canned plum tomatoes, with their juice
4 c fresh basil leaves, packed
1 t fresh thyme leaves
½ quart water

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Toss together the tomatoes, ¼ c olive oil, salt, and pepper. Spread the tomatoes in 1 layer on a baking sheet and roast for 45 minutes.

In an 8-quart stockpot over medium heat, saute the onions and garlic with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, the butter, and red pepper flakes for 10 minutes, until the onions start to brown. Add the canned tomatoes, basil, thyme, and water. Add the oven-roasted tomatoes, including the liquid on the baking sheet. Bring to a boil and simmer uncovered for 40 minutes. Pass through a food mill fitted with the coarsest blade (or use an emersion blender). Taste for seasonings. Serve hot or cold. Or with grilled cheese.

(courtesy of the Barefoot Contessa)

Another Week Night Pasta

1 can diced tomatoes
1/2 c pitted olives
1/2 yellow onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
handful of basil leaves, chopped
1/2 c parmesan cheese
1/4 c olive oil
1/2 box penne pasta

Sautee yellow onion and garlic over medium heat for 5 minutes. Add in olives and continue to simmer for another 3 minutes. Add in tomatoes (with juice) and basil and simmer for another 5-8 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook pasta according to directions on the box. When al dente, drain and combine with sauce. Top with paremesan cheese.

Mini Tomato Pizza

½ of 1 pkg puffed pastry
½ c ricotta
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 T parmesan
6 T basil, chopped
¾ carton cherry tomatoes
olive oil for drizzling

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Roll out the puff pastry (freeze other half). Roll out crease and fold the edges under to make it round. Line baking sheet with parchment paper and bake for 10 minutes.

Mix ricotta, garlic, parmesan and basil in a bowl. Slice tomatoes. When pastry comes out, spread cheese across the dough. Arrange tomatoes across dough and spread out evenly so they cover the top of the pizza. Bake for another 10-15 minutes until the pastry is golden and the tomatoes are slightly roasted. Remove from oven. Add more chopped basil and drizzle with olive oil.

Super Salad

2 chicken breasts
2 tablespoons of olive oil
red pepper flakes
sea salt & pepper
bag of spinach
1 tomato, grilled, sliced
1 avocado, diced
3 ears of corn, boiled, then cut off the cob
5 green onions, sliced
1 red pepper, roasted and then diced
shredded cheddar

¼ – ½ c olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 T cumin (or to taste)

Marinate the chicken in olive oil, salt, pepper, cumin and red pepper flakes. Grill until cooked through and charred a little on the skin. Slice and cool.

Cut the spinach into 1/2 inch pieces, then rinse twice and spin dry. In a large bowl, combine avocado, corn, green onions and red pepper.

Combine dressing ingredients and pour over the salad. Mix well. Add in diced chicken. Mix again and top with cheddar.