Saturday, April 25, 2015

Coeur a la Creme with Raspberry Sauce

Mother's Day will be here soon but can you think of a better way to celebrate than by making her a fabulous dessert?

You may want to make her a breakfast, or a celebratory dinner, but dessert just captures the heart.  This dessert is to DIE for!

When I read this recipe in Ina Garten's cookbook, "Barefoot in Paris" and saw that it was a french version of cheesecake well....let's just say she had me at cheesecake.  I love me some cheesecake! (Plus I love all of Ina's recipes...)

Boy, were we in for a treat on this one.  This is the creamiest, delicate, light and fluffy dessert you will ever want.  It's cheesecake kicked up 100x over!  No, really, this dessert is   d a n g e r o u s.  It is very hard to control yourself from eating it, I mean ALL OF IT!  Oh, and the raspberry sauce? Holy moly...this is a must!

Now, I will say, while this is easy to make, it does require some equipment you may not have readily available.  I'm sure you can substitute the mold for another form and be just fine, but this heart shaped Coeur a la Creme mold is so adorable I had to have it.  You can purchase it here.  You will also need some cheesecloth, for the straining, so make sure to have that on hand as well.  Other than that this is easy to put together.  This does need to sit overnight and strain through the cheesecloth, so I made it the night before.  You may want to plan to make this ahead of time.

This truly is a fabulous recipe, thanks to Ina for her ingenious cookbooks and foolproof dishes!  You can buy her cookbook here, which I highly recommend. 

You may also find the recipe here.

Happy Mother's Day!

Coeur a la Creme with Raspberry Sauce

(Serves 6 to 8 )

Adapted from :  Ina Garten's Barefoot in Paris Cookbook

12 ounces cream cheese at room temperature
1 1/4 cup confectioners sugar
2 1/2 cups cold heavy cream
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1/2 tsp of vanilla paste
Raspberry Sauce
2 half-pints fresh raspberries

Raspberry Sauce:
1 half-pint fresh raspberries
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 cup (12 ounces) seedless raspberry jam

Place the cream cheese and confectioners' sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat on high speed for two minutes. Scrape down the beater and bowl with a rubber spatula and change the beater for the whisk attachment. With the mixer on low speed, add the heavy cream, vanilla, lemon zest, and vanilla paste and beat on high speed until the mixture is very thick, like whipped cream.

Line a 7-inch sieve with cheesecloth or paper towels so the ends drape over the sides and suspend it over a bowl, making sure that there is space between the bottom of the sieve and the bottom of the bowl for the liquid to drain. Pour the cream mixture into the cheesecloth, fold the ends over the top, and refrigerate overnight.

To serve, discard the liquid, unmold the cream onto a plate, and drizzle Raspberry Sauce around the base. Serve with raspberries and extra sauce.

For the Raspberry Sauce: Place one package of raspberries, the granulated sugar, and 1/4 cup water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer for 4 minutes. Pour the cooked raspberries and the jam, into the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade and process until smooth. Chill.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Parmesan Chicken with a Tomato-Mozzarella Salad

Time for another healthy, fresh, yet quick dinner...

This is a fresh spin on Chicken Parmesan without all the ooey, gooey loveliness that I adore.  I really do love a good Chicken Parmesan dish.  As a matter of fact I recall someone saying that this is the dish they order each time they go to a new Italian restaurant, judging the restaurant on how well they make it! Hmm...funny how I think about that every time I order one too.

Today's rendition has all the flavors of the traditional without the calories.  Bringing in fresh tomatoes instead of a marinara sauce, and substituting fresh mozzarella balls for the melted cheese (hail to melted cheese..oops!) makes this dish light and bright and easy to assemble.  So the traditional is for another day.  Today we are going springtime fresh, quick and tasty!

Serve this quick dinner with a nice chopped Italian salad and some pita wedges and you are all set.  I hope you really enjoy this version.  It was a hit all around the block at my house.

If you're in the mood for the original version, I make a mean Chicken Parmigiana which you can find here.

Parmesan Chicken with a Tomato-Mozzarella Salad

Serves 4

1/2 cup all purpose flour
2 large eggs
1 cup panko breadcrumbs
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
4 (4 ounce) chicken cutlets or thin cut breasts
Salt and pepper
3 Tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 Tablespoons butter, divided
1 1/2 cups (12 ounces) cherry tomatoes, halved (I used mixed colors)
7 oz container fresh mozzarella balls, Bocconcini, cut in half
1 garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
2 Tablespoons finely chopped fresh basil

Place flour in a breading dish or pie plate. Beat eggs in a pie plate. Combine panko and Parmesan in a third pie plate. Make sure chicken is about 1/4" thick, if not pound to attain thinness.  Season chicken with salt and pepper. Dredge chicken in flour, dip in egg, then coat with panko mixture, pressing to adhere.

Heat 1 Tablespoon of oil and 1 Tablespoon of butter in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat. Cook cutlets, 2 at a time until golden brown and crisp, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate and cover with foil to keep warm.  Add another 1 Tablespoon of oil and remaining 1 Tablespoon of butter to the skillet and heat.  Add remaining cutlets and cook 2 minutes per side.

Toss tomatoes, mozzarella, garlic, balsamic vinegar, basil and remaining 1 Tablespoon oil together in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper to taste. To serve, place chicken on a dinner plate and top with the tomato-mozzarella salad. 

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Slow Cooker Greek Style Chicken with Spinach and Tomato Orzo

It's been awhile since I last posted on my blog, but I'm back and ready to go now!  The reason being is that MGG and I moved to a new home and we love it.

Moving is a major bummer in my eyes.  With all the packing , sorting, donating tons of stuff, and packing...and packing!  When you've lived in a place for eons you find the strangest stuff that you've latched on to and hid away.  I found items from the 90's!  Yikes!  So much to do, with so little time.  Note to self:  stop buying stuff for the kitchen! have too much!!!!! (Pottery Barn is a no, no!!)

The good part about moving is letting go and getting rid of a LOT of items that I didn't use, and certainly didn't need.  Plus we get to start a new chapter in our lives in a new home, and new area.  I love a good adventure and making new memories. Don't you?

So while I was packing day and night for the last month, I didn't have much time for anything else, let alone cooking.  At some point during the month I packed my entire kitchen and just decided to forgo all cooking and ate a lot of ready made salads for dinner or items from the deli.  Good for the waistline, but not so good for my blog posts!  

Just when I thought it was over and we were all moved I took a look around and saw a sea of boxes. I have to unpack! OMG will it be over soon?  So relying on my trusty memory to determine which box my crockpot was in I decided to get it out and whip up this wonderful meal for dinner.  The chicken, spinach and tomatoes cook all day (while I unpack) and you just cook the orzo when it's done and pull it all together. I used frozen spinach as suggested but next time I think I'll use fresh spinach, adding it toward the end of the cooking time.  I like a little more texture to my spinach than frozen offers.  You can do this either way, it will be fine. 

What a easy, yet tasty meal!

Enjoy this dish this spring when you want to have extra time to yourself!

Slow Cooker Greek Style Chicken with Spinach and Tomato Orzo
adapted from BHG Special Interest Publication "Chicken Dinners" 2015


1 teaspoon dried oregano, crushed
1teaspoon dried basil, crushed
1teaspoon dried parsley, crushed
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 14 1/2 ounce can reduced-sodium chicken broth
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 10 ounce package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
2 cups grape tomatoes
1 1/2 cups cooked orzo pasta
1teaspoon lemon zest
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese

In a small bowl combine dried oregano, basil, parsley, salt, and pepper. Sprinkle mixture evenly over chicken; rub in with your fingers. In a large skillet cook chicken in hot oil over medium-high heat about 4 minutes or until brown, turning once. (It doesn't have to be cooked through) Remove from heat.

In a 3 1/2- or 4-quart slow cooker combine chicken, broth, and garlic. Add spinach; top with tomatoes. Cover and cook on low-heat setting for 4 hours or on high-heat setting for 2 hours.  Remove chicken from cooker; cover and keep warm.  Using a slotted spoon, transfer spinach and tomatoes to a large bowl; discard liquid.  Stir cooked pasta, lemon peel, and lemon juice into spinach mixture.  Serve chicken with pasta mixture.  Garnish with cheese.  Enjoy!


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