Lemon Basil Chicken with Goat Cheese

 Lemon Basil Chicken with Goat Cheese

If you love Chicken Bryan at Carrabba’s you will love this dish, its my little copy cat recipe. To make it even more authentic add Sun dried tomatoes to the sauce, either way it is delicious.

Lemon Basil Chicken with Goat Cheese

4 Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts

1 T Italian Seasoning

Salt and Pepper

2 T Olive Oil

1 large shallot chopped fine

8 oz white wine ( I used Pinot Grigio)

2 oz Lemon Juice ( About 1 lemon)

1 T heavy Cream

12 T cold unsalted Butter cubed ( 1 1/2 sticks)

1 T chopped fresh basil

4  1 ” slices of goat cheese

Sprinkle both sides of the chicken breast with Italian seasoning and salt and pepper. Heat oil in a large pan then add chicken cooking about 4 min on each side. turn to low and cover until chicken is cooked all the way through, use a meat thermometer to check doneness. Remove chicken from pan.

Heat a small sauce pan over high heat. Add Shallots, wine and lemon juice, bring to a simmer and cook until liquid is reduced to about 2 T. Lemon Basil Chicken with Goat Cheese

Reduce heat to med high. Whisk in cream. Add Butter 1 T at a time whisking constantly and removing from heat as needed. Continue adding each tablespoon of butter and whisking until all have been added and the sauce is smooth. Season with salt and pepper

and stir in basil.

Lemon Basil Chicken with Goat Cheese

Lemon Basil Chicken with Goat Cheese

To plate chicken breasts, top with goat cheese, drizzle with lemon sauce, garnish with more basil if desired. Serve immediately.

Lemon Basil Chicken with Goat Cheese

Fig, Pistachio, and Goat Cheese TOasts

Fig, Pistachio, and Goat Cheese Toasts

 

I love figs, I didn’t used to. I thought all figs tasted like Fig Newtons. Then I tried a fresh fig, delicious, juicy and just the right amount of sweetness to be the perfect accompaniment to any kind of cheese. Unfortunately they are hard to find around here so when I do I buy some. I found them at Fresh Market the other day and made this delicious appetizer. I would also be great with a salad for a light, vegetarian dinner or lunch.

1 loaf French Bread

6 figs sliced into 1/4 ‘ pieces

1 c crumbled goat cheese

1/3 c pistachios crushed

2-3 T olive oil

2 T honey

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees, slice the bread in half horizontally. Place on a baking sheet and drizzle or brush with olive oil, sprinkle on the goat cheese and then place the figs on top and sprinkle with pistachios. Place in the oven and bake for about 10 minutes 0r until cheese starts to melt. remove from oven and drizzle with honey. Cut into slices for appetizers or halves for meal portions.

Fig, Pistachio, and Goat Cheese Toasts

Fig, Pistachio, and Goat Cheese Toasts

 

Summer Crock Pot Recipe: Chicken with Sun Dried Tomatoes, Lemon and Goat Cheese

Chicken with Sun Dried Tomatoes, Lemon and Goat Cheese

I like the ease of my crock pot / slow cooker especially in the Summer when we are busy and I don’t want to get the house any hotter by turning on the oven. The problem is most slow cooker recipes are heavy and not that appealing in the warm Summer months. So here is a lighter recipe for the crock pot based on my love for the Chicken Bryan at Carrabbas

Chicken with Sundried Tomatoes, Lemon and Goat Cheese

Chicken with Sundried Tomatoes, Lemon and Goat Cheese

6 boneless skinless chicken thighs ( or 4 Breasts)

1 shallot chopped

zest of 1 lemon

juice of 2 lemons

1 t chopped garlic

2 T butter

2 c chicken broth

1 t salt

1/4 t pepper

1 t dried basil

1/4 c chopped sun dried tomatoes ( dried, not in oil)

4 oz goat cheese

1 T chopped fresh basil

Add chicken, shallot, lemon juice and zest, garlic, butter, chicken broth, salt, pepper, dried basil, sun dried tomatoes and 2 oz of the goat cheese to your slow cooker, cover and cook on high for 4 hours or low for 6 hours. Serve over pasta, noodles or rice and top with remaining 2 oz of goat cheese and fresh basil.

The Monsters of Templeton: Stuffed Tomatoes with Mushrooms and Goat Cheese

The Monsters of Templeton

This month’s book club selection was the Monsters of Templeton by Lauren Groff. I admit this was an ambitious piece of literature, family secrets, ghosts, sea monsters, a complete family lineage going back several generations, a student’s affair with her professor, a best friend dealing with a terrible disease, an unwanted pregnancy, and a girl’s search for her father. However this was just way too much information for one book. the main idea was so watered down by the enormous cast of characters that I ended up just not caring about any of  them.It made it a difficult book to read but that also made it a great book for book club. There were many things to discuss and dissect. I think the discussions are always better when everyone doesn’t love the book. (usually I am the everyone, I can be a bit critical)

Some of us even dressed as “The Running Buds, a group of friends that have run together for years and who may or may not be important characters in the book. They were just the easiest costume, headbands, running shorts etc… Unfortunately I don’t have a sea monster outfit in my costume box. The food didn’t jump right out at you in this book but there was a lot of it if you paid attention ( I didn’t really ) I chose to make my version of Tomatoes Farci, Willie mentions this is her favorite dish when her mother makes it for her. We have quite a few vegetarians so I stuffed my tomatoes with goat cheese and mushrooms instead of meat. Another great one was a Huevos Rancheros casserole, Willie’s mom also makes this during an eventful breakfast in the book.

Stuffed Tomatoes with Mushrooms and Goat Cheese

10 Campari Tomatoes ( or 4 large for a meal)

1 T olive oil

1 cup finely chopped mushrooms, (I used baby bellas and porcini)

2 T chopped shallot

2 cloves garlic chopped

1/4 c chopped tomato

2 T chopped parsley

1/4 c white wine ( I used Pinot Grigio)

1 T balsamic vinegar

salt and pepper

1/4 c panko bread crumbs

1 3 1/2 oz log goat cheese

Core tomatoes and remove seeds and pulp, leaving just a shell.( if using a large tomato, cut top off and scoop out insides, leaving a bowl) In a large pan. Add oil and saute mushrooms, shallot and garlic, until mushrooms are soft and shallot is translucent. add tomato, wine, balsamic vinegar and salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer and cook 2 minutes. Remove from heat and add bread crumb, cheese and parsley. Let cool.

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Stuff tomatoes with the cheese and mushroom mixture , place in an oven safe dish and bake at 350 for about 20 minutes or until cheese slightly browns on top.

Stuffed Tomatoes with Mushrooms and Goat Cheese

(oops, so excited for book club I didn’t take a picture of the final product, but they looked the same with a slightly brown top)

Chicken and Cheese Fondue Sandwiches

Chicken and Cheese Fondue Sandwiches

 

I love pretzels and cheese fondue, ok I love cheese fondue with everything. I would eat cheese fondue for dinner every night but let’s admit it that is really an appetizer. So how to make it into a real dinner….. I will put it on a sandwich, and add some healthier things and hey, its dinner. So I put fondue, chicken, apples, and spinach on a pretzel roll and voila dinner is served. I made my own pretzel rolls because I like to set myself up to fail. I am not a baker, in fact I hate it and I am not very good at it either. I had to make a second batch because the first batch looked like a dog had chewed on all my rolls. The second batch was slightly better and tasted great but from now on these will be an item I get from my bakery.

Chicken and Cheese Fondue Sandwiches

4 large or 8 small pretzel rolls

4  thinly sliced chicken cutlets

1/2 t thyme

1/2 t nutmeg

1T oil

1 apple sliced thin

1 c  fresh baby spinach

2 oz goat cheese

1 c shredded cheddar cheese

1/8 c flour

1 t chopped garlic

1 c white wine, beer or water

Sprinkle the chicken cutlets with the thyme and nutmeg. Heat oil in a skillet and cook chicken for about 3 minutes per side, or until cooked through and no longer pink. Cover with foil and set aside. Add garlic and wine/beer/water to a small sauce pan, bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Toss flour with shredded cheese to coat, add to sauce pan with goat cheese and whisk over med.heat until melted and well combined, turn heat to low.

Goat Cheese and Cheddar Fondue

Slice rolls and add chicken spinach and sliced apples, spoon fondue on top and serve. If fondue gets too thick, turn heat up and stir until melted.

I think they were great without the chicken too, so they would be a good vegetarian option.

Chicken and Cheese Fondue Sandwiches

Blueberry and Basil Salsa

Blueberry and Basil Salsa

Blueberry and Basil Salsa

I love the combination of blueberries and basil, so when I was asked to make salsa for a wine and cheese party, I decided to add a little twist. This salsa is great with goat cheese, brie, blue cheese or even cream cheese, serve over top the cheese on a cracker or bread. This would also be great on chicken or fish.

 Blueberry and Basil Salsa

1 cup fresh blueberries

1/4 c red onion

5 large fresh basil leaves

1 tsp honey

1 tsp lime juice

1/2 tsp salt

Add all ingredients to a blender or food processor and puree until salsa consistency.

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Formula for a Perfect Salad: Grilled Salmon and Goat Cheese Salad

 

I am very particular about my salads. They need to contain what I like to call my perfect salad formula, which is something crunchy, something sweet, something sour or acidic and something unexpected. Balance is also key, sweet and savory, creamy and crunchy, warm and cold, everything has to have the right ratio. Oh and did I mention  it has to be visually appealing as well so make sure there are contrasting colors and textures. One of my favorite salads to eat out is Bonefish’s Grilled Salmon and Asparagus Salad. It meets all my criteria and it is delicious. I made my own little version of it at home minus the asparagus.

For 2

2 fillets wild sockeye salmon

2 T olive oil

1/4 cup orange juice

1/2 t salt

1/4 t lemon pepper

1/4 t chili powder

4 c mixed field greens, washed and dried

1/2 c french green beans, steamed until crisp tender ( I used a microwave steamer bag)

1/3 c chopped fennel

4 T goat cheese

1/2 c cherry tomatoes

1/2 c citrus or mango vinaigrette (I used Bolthouse Farms Tropical Mango, I normally don’t buy bottled dressings, but this one is good and all natural)

Place fish in a shallow dish, top with orange juice and olive oil and put in refrigerator for 15 minutes. Remove and sprinkle with salt pepper and chili powder. Grill until cooked to your liking, I did mine about 4 min per side. Assemble greens, fennel, goat cheese, green beans and tomatoes on each plate, top with grilled fish and dressing.

Goat Cheese and Marinara Dip

I first tried this dip when my best friend made it for book club. It is a true crowd pleaser and couldn’t be any easier. It’s a perfect go to appetizer when invited to a last minute cocktail party or when unexpected guests come over.

Goat Cheese and Marinara Dip

4 oz goat cheese log

12 oz of your favorite marinara, I like to use spicy (or make your own)

1 T chopped fresh basil

Preheat oven to 350. Pour marinara in to a small baking dish, slice goat cheese and arrange on top of sauce.

 

 

Heat for about 15-20 minutes or until goat cheese is slightly melted. Top with basil and serve with sliced Italian or French bread.

No Stress Breakfast: Bacon and Egg Cups with Goat Cheese, Arugula, and Tomatoes

I am not a fan of breakfast, not because I don’t like to eat it, just because I am not a morning person. Also it can be hard to get everything ready on time to feed a whole family or god forbid guests. I feel like a harried short order cook with a huge mess in my kitchen. It can ruin my whole day. This is an easy way to serve a crowd or just make ahead for the week to save you time and stress.

Bacon, love it probably more than any other food, but it can be messy. When I was a young bride I was not such a great cook and I tried making bacon in a fry pan on the stove, what a mess, it doesn’t really fit in the pan, and it never cooks evenly. Who wants to stand over the stove with grease flying at you? Then there is the microwave, sure it cooks but your oven is covered in a layer of grease that will take forever to clean, there goes the 5 minutes you saved choosing that method of cooking. For whatever reason one day I tried it in the oven, why had I not ever tried this before? There was no mess, no standing like a slave to the cook top and guess what it came out better and more evenly cooked. Not to mention you can make a whole pound at one time if you are feeding a crowd or in my case a family of 4, who loves bacon.

Lay your slices on a heavy-duty sheet pan with sides. Bake in the oven at 400 degrees for 12-15 minutes. Take out and drain on paper towels. My family likes it “well done” this was cooked for about 17 minutes.Unused bacon can be stored in the refrigerator in a plastic bag and reheated in the microwave for 30 seconds or warmed in a skillet pan.

For the Egg Cups:

8 eggs

3T half and half or milk

1/4 t cayenne pepper

1/4 t black pepper

1/2 t salt

3 T creamy goat cheese

1/2 c chopped arugula

1/2 c chopped tomatoes

Grease or spray a 6 muffin tin. Preheat oven to 325 degrees

In a large bowl add eggs, spices, goat cheese and half and half, whisk until combined.

Pour into muffin tins, I used a large ice cream scoop. Then add about a tablespoon of tomatoes and a tablespoon of arugula to each cup. and stir with a fork.

Bake in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes or until eggs are set. Eggs will rise but with deflate when removed from the oven. If you are worried about spillage in your oven, place muffin tin on a cookie sheet before baking. You can put any uneaten cups in a large freezer bag  and place into the freezer for future use.