Thursday, May 21, 2009

Pesto and Pesto Chicken (Pg. 39)

Pesto and Chicken with Pesto:
2 c. firmly packed basil leaves 1/2 c. olive oil
1-2 cloves of garlic 1/4 to 1/2 c. Parmesan cheese(the good stuff)
3 T. Pine nuts salt and pepper to taste
If making Pesto chicken add 3-4 T. lemon juice and 2 lbs thawed boneless skinless chicken breast.
Season chicken with salt and pepper place in a gallon size freezer bag or 9 x 13 dish. Cover and refrigerate. Wash up!
Pesto sauce:
In a food processor place garlic and pulse, then the basil and pulse.

Add the pine nuts and pulse.

Slowly add olive oil while processing, then pulse in the cheese.

You can pour into a small Ball Mason jar, cover the top with olive oil and freeze. You can use right away on bruschetta or in a pasta dish.

If making pesto chicken, add lemon juice to the mixture and mix well. Pour over the chicken and marinate for 30 min. to a few hours (refrigerate), but NOT over night. I like a freezer bag to flip the mixture.

Grill chicken, turning only once until cooked, but not until dry! Place on a platter and cover with foil so juices redistribute. Can be served over pasta or a bed of greens. Yum!

Monday, May 4, 2009

Chicken Pot Pie (Page 39)

4 cups chicken cooked and diced
1 cup onion,chopped 1 tsp. salt
1 cup carrot, chopped 1/4 tsp. pepper
1 cup celery, chopped 2 sheets puff pastry thawed (side by side)
1/2 cup + 2 T. unsalted butter 1 egg yolk
1 cup frozen peas 1 T. half and half
1/4 cup plus 2 T. flour
2 cups chicken broth
1 cup half and half

Take 3-4 uncooked chicken breasts and cover 1/2 way with water or broth and bake at 350 degrees until done. Dice into small pieces to 4 cups and set aside. Chop veggies as into small bits. Set up ingredients so that when the ingredients are gone, you are done. This is called "mise en place".

Melt the butter in a large saute pan (this is a 4 quart pan.) And saute the veggies.

You will be sauteing the veggies at least 10 min. over medium heat. Really make sure the veggies are soft. This is their only real "cook" time. As you are waiting for the veggies to soften, line up your next ingredients. Once you have softened veggies add flour and peas. Stir and cook for 1 minute.

Gradually add broth and cream. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until thick and bubbly. Stir in salt and pepper. Add chicken and stir. Ladle mixture into an oven proof dish (or smaller individual oven proof bowls to 3/4 full. Place on a cookie sheet.

Lightly flour your surface and rolling pin. Roll out puff pastry to 1/8 inch thickness.I use an offset spatula to slide under the pastry, to loosen it. Mix the egg yolk and 2 T. half and half and brush onto pastry. Pick that pastry up and put it wet side down on top of mixture. If doing individual bowls, I would cut slt. larger than the bowl, then brush. Once the pastry is on the bowl, brush the top with egg wash. Bake about 20 min. or until the top is puffy and golden.

Notes: I only needed 1 sheet of puff pastry, so I took the other sheet, cut into squares and put into muffin cups. Bake 400 degrees until brown (?15 min) and you can give to people who want extra bread. I would double the base mixture and maybe even freeze it. There are never leftovers, so at our house ~ just double in 2 casserole dishes. The main goal of baking is to cook the puff pastry as everything in the base is cooked. I sprayed the casserole dish and would NOT do that next time. You see it made the dish look not so nice. You could wipe down the inside for baking. Individual ramekins (oven proof bowls have worked well in the past. Just really make sure the pastry seals to the edge and use a bake sheet in case there is spillage.