Category Archives: Cuisine at Home

Baked Fettuccine Alfredo

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Fettuccine alfredo is the ultimate comfort food.  Because it is so rich I don’t make it very often but when I do it disappears the minute I put it on the table.  This version, adapted from Cuisine at Home magazine, is a true one dish meal since everything cooks in the oven making clean up a breeze.  I used Parmesan cheese and chicken broth but you can easily substitute vegetable broth to make the dish vegetarian or use pecorino or Asiago or a combination of the three for the Parmesan cheese.  If you don’t have panko bread crumbs use dried white bread instead but don’t skip them.  The crunch on the top of the casserole is what makes this dish so special.

BAKED FETTUCCINE ALFREDO

1 lb. dried fettuccine or other long pasta, snapped in half

2 cups low sodium chicken or vegetable broth

1 1/2 cups hot water

2 tablespoons minced fresh garlic

Zest and juice of 1 lemon

1 teaspoon kosher salt

2 cups half and half

2 cups freshly grated Parmesan cheese

2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper

3 tablespoons melted butter

1/2 cup panko crumbs

1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

1/4 cup fresh parsley, minced

1/4 teaspoon Hungarian paprika

  • Preheat the oven to 400.
  • Combine the pasta, broth, water, garlic, zest, lemon juice, and salt in a 9 x 13 inch baking dish.  Cover the dish with aluminum foil and bake for 20 minutes.
  • Uncover the dish, stir the pasta with a fork, re-cover, and bake for an additional 20 minutes.
  • Stir in the half and half, 2 cups of cheese, and the pepper.
  • Cover the casserole and bake for 15 minutes.
  • Remove the foil, stir the casserole, and bake for 10 more minutes.
  • Preheat the broiler to high with the rack 6 inches from the heating element.
  • Combine the melted butter, panko crumbs, parsley and 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese.  Sprinkle evenly over the top of the noodles.  Sprinkle the top with the paprika.
  • Return the dish to the oven and broil 3-5 minutes or until golden brown.
  • Remove from the oven and allow to sit for 5 minutes before serving.

Serves 6

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Japanese Fried Chicken

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It is Fast Friday again and time for another fast and fabulous dinner suggestion.  If you are anything like me, by the time Friday rolls around the last thing you want to do to cook a big meal yet we all still have to eat.  The dishes featured in this series aren’t necessarily fancy but they bring together simple ingredients most people already have in their pantries or have easy access to and allow you to put a real meal on the table in between 30 and 45 minutes.  Enjoy and if you have your own fast recipes you want to share, please send them my way and I will in turn share them with all of my readers.

This recipe comes from Cuisine at Home magazine but I’ve adapted to the ingredients I have on hand.  I’ve substituted Chinese rice wine for the mirin called for the in the original recipe and in order to save time I’ve used chicken breast filets instead of buying whole chicken breasts and slicing and pounding them.  If you can’t find filets just buy whole chicken breasts and slice them in half then use a meat mallet to ensure they are of an even thickness. The panko gives the chicken a crunch that holds up to the sauce.  I like to serve the chicken over a bed of rice and use whatever kind I have on hand.  The results?  Every bit of dinner gets eaten.  Now that’s a great way to end a long week.

JAPANESE FRIED CHICKEN

For the sauce:

2 cup low-sodium chicken broth

2 cups sliced onion

1/2 cup low-sodium soy sauce

1/2 cup Chinese rice wine

2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger

1 tablespoon brown sugar

1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil

1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

Black pepper to taste

  • Simmer the broth, onion, soy sauce, rice wine, ginger, garlic, brown sugar, sesame oil, and pepper flakes in a medium-sized sauce pan over medium-low heat.
  • Cook until the onions are soft, approximately 20 minutes.
  • Stir in the lemon juice and black pepper and keep warm over low heat until ready to serve.

For the chicken:

8 thin chicken breast filets or 2 whole chicken breasts sliced in half and pounded thin

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

3 eggs

1 tablespoon water

2 cups panko bread crumbs

4 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided

  • Combine the flour, salt, and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper in a shallow dish.
  • Whisk the eggs and water together in a second shallow dish.
  • Place the panko bread crumbs in a third shallow dish.
  • Coat the cutlets on both sides with the flour mixture then dip in the egg mixture.  All the excess egg to drip off of the chicken.
  • Place the chicken in the dish with the panko crumbs and coat thoroughly.
  • Heat half of the oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat.
  • Fry the cutlets in two batches, adding more oil as needed, until thoroughly cooked on both sides, adjusting the heat as necessary.
  • Slice the cutlets into strips and serve over a bed of rice with the soy-onion sauce.

Serves:  4

Bacon Skewers w/ Caramel & Ganache

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If you love bacon and the combination of sweet and savory the way I do, you are sure to become a fan of this dish.  Courtesy of Cuisine at Home magazine, I can’t decide if these skewers make better appetizers or desserts.  Since the sweetness of the caramel and chocolate are foiled by the saltiness of the bacon, you can place the skewers upright in a glass and place them on a buffet table as a part of a brunch feast or serve them individually as a part of an appetizer plate.  These skewers can also make a surprise appearance on a dessert plate alongside a fruit salad.  Or, if you are feeling truly decadent, you can eat them as is for a lazy weekend mid-afternoon treat.  However you serve them they are sure to disappear so be sure the cook gets his or her share.

Do be sure to use a thick cut bacon since thinner slices are more apt to burn and won’t give you enough surface area for your caramel and chocolate to adhere to and as always, use the best quality of chocolate you can find.  You will notice the difference.

BACON SKEWERS w/ CARAMEL & GANACHE

For the bacon:

1 pound thick sliced bacon (about 14 slices)

14 wooden skewers

  • Pre-heat the oven to 425 degrees.
  • Coat a broiler pan with cooking spray.
  • Weave each piece of bacon onto a wooden skewer and place on the prepared broiler pan.
  • Place the bacon in the oven and bake for 10 minutes.  Remove from oven, flip each skewer over and return to the oven for an additional 10-15 minutes until the bacon is browned and crispy.
  • Remove from the oven and place on a plate lined with paper towels.
  • Transfer the bacon skewers to a parchment lined baking sheet and set aside while you make the caramel.

For the caramel:

1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 tablespoon light corn syrup

2 tablespoons heavy cream

  • Place the brown sugar, butter, and corn syrup in a small saucepan and bring to a boil.  Allow to boil for 1 minute.
  • Whisk in the cream and boil for an additional 1 minute.
  • Remove from the heat and allow to sit for 10 minutes.
  • Drizzle each bacon skewer with the caramel.
  • Place the baking sheet in the refrigerator to allow the caramel to set while you make the ganache.

For the ganache:

3 tablespoons heavy cream

3 ounces good quality milk chocolate, chopped

  • Bring the cream to a boil in a small saucepan.
  • Remove the pan from the heat and add the chopped chocolate.
  • Let the mixture sit for 3-4 minutes then whisk the chocolate into the cream until it is smooth.
  • Drizzle the chocolate over the second side of each bacon skewer.
  • Allow the chocolate to set then serve.

Yields: 14 skewers

Grilled Rib Eye Steaks With Bacon-Blue Cheese Compound Butter

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It is Fast Friday again and time for another fast and fabulous dinner suggestion.  If you are anything like me, by the time Friday rolls around the last thing you want to do to cook a big meal yet we all still have to eat.  The dishes featured in this series aren’t necessarily fancy but they bring together simple ingredients most people already have in their pantries or have easy access to and allow you to put a real meal on the table in between 30 and 45 minutes.  Enjoy and if you have your own fast recipes you want to share, please send them my way and I will in turn share them with all of my readers.

As anyone who has spent time in the Balkans knows, good quality meat is often hard to come by.  Local meats are so lean and are rarely marbled with the fat that is necessary to produce juicy and flavorful steaks.  When locals cook their meat they also tend to overcook them by American standards.  We’ve come to the point where we forego ordering steak in restaurants.  Rather, we dip into our stash of American-cut steaks that we bought in the Commissary in Naples, Italy.  They are so flavorful and juicy that they make the overnight ferry ride to Italy worth it.

A grilled rib eye steak is great anytime but this butter is the perfect way to dress up any piece of meat.  This recipe is adapted from on found in Cuisine at Home, a brilliant cooking magazine that forgoes advertisements and contains nothing but recipes, equipment reviews, and technique suggestions.  You can take the butter out in the morning before heading out and when you return at the end of the day  it will be at the perfect room temperature needed to combine all of the ingredients.  Once your butter is soft, this butter comes together in a matter of minutes and will set up while your steaks are grilling.  Alternatively, you can make the butter ahead of time and keep it in your freezer until you are ready to use it.  Either way, all you need to do is add a starch and a vegetable to your plate and you have a complete dinner in no time.

GRILLED RIB EYE STEAKS WITH BACON-BLUE CHEESE COMPOUND BUTTER

2 Rib eye steaks, trimmed and seasoned with salt and pepper

4 slices thick cut bacon, finely diced

8 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature

2 tablespoons crumbled blue cheese

2 tablespoons red onion, minced

2 teaspoon minced walnuts

1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest

1/2 teaspoon garlic, minced

1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

Salt and pepper to taste

  • Pre-heat a grill to high.
  • While the grill is heating, cook the bacon in a skillet until crisp.
  • Transfer bacon to a paper-towel lined plate.  Reserve 1 tablespoon of drippings.
  • Combine butter, reserved drippings, blue cheese, onion, garlic, walnuts, zest, and Worcestershire sauce.  Season with salt and pepper.
  • Mound the butter mixture onto a piece of plastic wrap.  Roll plastic wrap around butter to form a tight cylinder, then tightly twist ends of plastic wrap.
  • Freeze butter until firm, approximately 30 minutes.
  • Place the steaks on the hot grill.
  • Cook for a total of 8 minutes or to desired level of doneness, flipping the meat every two minutes to ensure even cooking.
  • Slice coins of compound butter and place on top of each steak.

Yields:  1 cup of butter

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