Monday, January 18, 2010

Broccoli-Cheddar Soup

This old WW recipe is a snap to make and freezes well. Watch out if you use a hand blender: this one can spray.

1 head broccoli (about 4 cups)
2½ cups chicken or vegetable stock (or one can broth, reconstituted)
½ cup milk
salt and pepper to taste
½ cup grated “light” old cheddar (2 oz)

Peel the broccoli stalks and rough chop. Combine with stock in a saucepot and simmer until broccoli is quite tender, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat.

Purée soup in blender or with a hand blender until smooth. Soup can be strained through fine mesh sieve if desired (I never do). Return to pot.

Stir in milk, salt, and pepper. Simmer until heated through; remove from heat. Stir in cheese until melted.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Chicken with Stewed Tomatoes

Every time I am invited to a recipe exchange, this is the first recipe I think of. It's fast, easy, and light.

  1. Dredge boneless skinless chicken breasts in flour with a bit of salt and pepper mixed in.
  2. In a large nonstick skillet, fry on medium-high with a bit of oil or butter until lightly browned, about 4 min each side.
  3. Dump a can of stewed tomatoes on top; bring to a boil then simmer, uncovered, on low until chicken is done, about 20 minutes. Use about one can of tomatoes per pound of chicken, or more if you like a lot of tomatoes.
  4. Serve with rice or other starch.

Recipe notes:

Cut cooking time down by cutting chicken breasts in half horizontally, so you have two wide thin pieces. Reduce fry time to about 2.5 to 3 mins and simmer to about 10 to 12 mins.

Any flavour of stewed tomatoes will work, my favorite is Aylmer original flavour; the petite cuts work best. I do not recommend home-brand or no-name tomatoes.

If you have one, put a splatter screen over the tomatoes.

Fancy it up with buttered or garlic croutons served on top of the tomatoes (with original flavour tomatoes).

The Kid’s Specialty: Pepperoni Double-Mushroom Pizza

Yeah, I’ve tried going authentic and making my own pizza dough. And sauce. And designing my own cheese blend. Then one day I was tired and the kid wanted to help make dinner and I decided to be easy on myself: I bought all the base ingredients pre-prepared and let the kid have at it. The result: we don’t take out from Pizza Hut any more.

Everything in this recipe is found at Metro.

olive oil or cornmeal
1 bag sun-dried tomato-basil pizza dough by Fresh to Go
¾ can garlic basil pizza sauce by Primo
¾ bag pizza blend shredded cheese by Selection
2 cans sliced mushrooms, well-drained
½ bag thick-sliced pepperoni
other toppings as desired

Preheat the oven to 500F (if you don’t have an oven thermometer, allow at least 20 minutes to preheat, even if you have a new oven that tells you it’s ready in 8, because, well, it’s lying to you). If you are using a pizza stone or cast iron, stick it in there until it’s quite warm to the touch.

Prepare the stone or pizza pan with oil or cornmeal. To create a Pizza Hut-style pie, use a pizza stone or a cast-iron pan and a generous amount of oil. For a drier crust, use cornmeal. You can roll out your dough directly on the stone if using oil, or transfer it after rolling if using cornmeal. If you can toss pizza dough, good on you! But, why are you reading this recipe?

Once your dough is rolled out, layer on the sauce with the back of a spoon or ladle, then cheese, then mushrooms, then pepperoni. Don’t be shy about crowding on the pepperoni slices: they are going shrink up in the oven.

Bake on the middle rack 12-16 minutes; watch for cheese browning at the edges. Let pizza rest for a few minutes before slicing.

Save the leftover sauce and cheese for pita pizzas or whatnot. The pepperoni will keep in the freezer for a couple months.