Easy + Delicious Bruschetta Chicken

May 20, 2022

There is nothing my husband and son love more then a chicken breast slathered in flavor + cheese for dinner. So when I eyed all of the tomatoes and basil I saw in the produce section, I thought what if what I love slathered on bread they would love on a chicken breast?

Turns out I love it too.

This dinner gets bonus points for being totally easy + doable on a busy sports night. You can easily chop up the shallots, garlic and tomatoes earlier in the day, and then prep is a snap.

Turn on a 350 oven, pour the marinade over the chicken breasts for 10 min.

Toss the tomatoes with a duplicate version of the marinade plus some julienned basil, and voila, your prep is done.

Add some mozzarella cheese and the tomatoes to the chicken and let it cook while you do any of the million tasks you have to do in your house before you leave to go pick up someone from some field.

It also reheats beautifully for anyone who has to eat later or for lunch the next day (yum! flavors just get better).

What is amazing about this dish is how the sweetness of the tomatoes combines with the acidity of the balsamic, plus those lovely aromatics of shallots and garlic, to become one of the most flavorful bites of food you will ever have. The 10 minute marinade infuses the chicken with that flavor so well. And the gooey cheese is the perfect textural combination.

I had mine with spaghetti squash but the others had it over pasta. And those tomatoes look like a lot but they are the perfect amount to create the perfect tomato/chicken/pasta ratio with every bite.

My goal for this blog is always to give great dinner rotation ideas – almost everyone likes them, they are super doable, but they also could make you happy if you ordered it in a restaurant. This one is a winner on all counts. Hope you get to try it soon!

Happy Eating,

xoxo Katie

Bruschetta Chicken

Ingredients:

For the chicken:

  • 4 Chicken Breasts
  • 2 tablespoons minced shallots (2 shallots)
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic (2 cloves)
  • 2 tablespoons good balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tsp. Italian seasoning
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella

For the tomatoes:

  • 2 pounds ripe heirloom or cherry tomatoes, cut in half
  • 2 tablespoons minced shallots (2 shallots)
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic (2 cloves)
  • 2 tablespoons good balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 cup julienned fresh basil leaves, plus extra for serving
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper

Directions:

Combine all ingredients for the marinade: shallots, garlic, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper.

Preheat oven to 350. Place chicken breasts in a cooking dish and pour marinade over them for 10 min.

While it marinates, combine a second marinade for the tomatoes (minus the Italian seasoning). Toss tomatoes, marinade, and basil together and taste. Add more salt, vinegar or oil if necessary.

When 10 minutes are up, add 1/4 cup mozzarella to the top of each chicken breasts (feel free to add more if you like of course), the spread tomatoes over all of the chicken breasts and cook in the oven for 30-35 min. or until chicken is cooked through.

Serve over pasta or spaghetti squash.

Risotto Primavera

May 6, 2022

 

Spring has sprung here in New Hampshire finally! The lacy tree blossoms, the tulip-and-daffodil studded yards, and warmer temps all beckon us to linger outside every chance we get. The trampoline is in full use, and flip flops and Birks are finding their way onto our happy feet.

I love seeing how the change of seasons affects our appetites. We go from craving warm bowls of comfort food to wanting fresh veggies and salads. This Risotto Primavera is a sort of in-between, with all the stick to your ribs comfort from cheesy, warm risotto and all of the feel good bites of lots of green veggies.

This is the perfect side dish when you break out your grill and cook some chicken or steak, or our favorite, swordfish. It feels indulgent, but also healthy.

There is something so relaxing about cooking risotto. The adventure of stirring and ladeling in more broth and stirring some more (sipping a glass of wine somehow adds to the relaxation right?) until you are left with a creamy, cheesy flavor bomb of a side dish. The wine and the parm make this irresistible.

I love artichokes with risotto – I often make artichoke risotto up north at our camp when we cook steak on an open fire, since we can keep all the makings for it in the pantry. But the addition of fresh asparagus and peas were so springlike and welcome.

Feel free to play around with your veggies though. Mushrooms, sun-dried tomatoes, and butternut squash are all also delicious veggies with risotto.

Though it is delicious hot, this dish can be served at room temperature, so feel free to bring it to a potluck or picnic. It will brighten up any meal. Cheers to spring friends!

Happy Eating! xoxo Katie

Risotto Primavera

Serves 4 (I doubled this recipe).

  • 1 cup Aborio rice.
  • 1/2 cup onion or shallot (finely diced)
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil (extra virgin)
  • 2 tablespoon butter (preferably unsalted)
  • ¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese (plus more for serving)
  • 1/2 cup white wine (we use Pinot Grigio)
  • 3 cups chicken stock (have more on hand)
  • 1/2 cup chopped artichokes (I like canned but frozen is fine)
  • 1/2 cup peas (if frozen, let soak in warm water to thaw)
  • 1/2 cup chopped blanched asparagus (see directions)

Directions:

  • Put chicken stock in small pan over medium heat to warm it.
  • Blanch Asparagus: Bring 2 cups of water to a boil.  When boiling, add asparagus and cook for 5-7 minutes until tender. Get bowl of cold water + ice cubes ready, and drain asparagus then add to the ice bath to lock in their green color.
  • Add the olive oil to a large skillet or frying pan and bring to medium high heat, add onions and cook until translucent (about 2-3 minutes). Add butter and Arborio rice, stir to coat rice.
  • Increase heat to high, add white wine.  Let rice absorb the wine while the wine cooks off (2-4 minutes). Reduce heat back to med high.
  • Add the warm chicken stock, one cup at a time.  As the rice absorbs the stock continue adding stock gradually. Stir constantly.
  • Continue cooking until the rice is almost all the way cooked through, it should be al dente with a firm center (approx 15-20 min).
  • When rice is cooked, reduce heat to low. Add ½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper, the Parmesan cheese and stir. Then add the vegetables. Taste to see if more salt or pepper is needed. Add more Parm on top for serving.

Baked Artichoke Crostini with Havarti Dill

April 8, 2022

If your looking for a new, easy appetizer for Easter, this recipe is for you.

I’m so excited to share this recipe with you all – I have been dreaming of re-creating this dish here on the blog. We always visit one of our favorite restaurants, Giuseppe’s, in Meredith, NH whenever we go visit my in-laws. My husband grew up near Lake Winniepesaukee and Meredith is the beautiful lake-side town next door. Giuseppe’s is located in an old mill building that is beautifully renovated, and between the scenery and the food it is so special.

It also might be this artichoke dish on their menu that calls us there.

I was surprised that my first time trying to re-create it tasted exactly like the restaurant version, which is probably because it uses only a few good ingredients. This dish is a study in simplicity, and brings out the flavor of the artichokes. The creamy havarti with the notes of dill perfectly compliment the garlic, wine and artichokes.

I recently made it for our cooking club, and everyone was crazy about this dish. ‘That’s lovely’, ‘what is this deliciousness’ and ‘wow’ were some of the comments. Pretty much a home run for a pot luck dish. (I think it’s still delicious at room temperature).

This would make a great appetizer for Easter or any party. The whole artichokes get soft baking in the oven and it is so fun to let them spread out on the crostini. Taking a bite is such a wonderful textural combination – crunchy, buttery crostini, soft, warm artichokes dripping in a wine and garlic infused liquid, and creamy cheese with dill to top it off. Perfection.

You will want to double the recipe if you have more than 3 people (I need at least 2 when I have this).

Hope you get to try this one soon, it is such a crowd pleaser and super simple to make. Happy Eating! xoxo Katie

Baked Artichoke Crostini with Havarti Dill

Ingredients: 

10 slices of a baguette or French bread

3 T. olive oil, divided

1 garlic clove, minced

1 can whole artichokes, 5-7 count

1/2 cup dry white wine

1/2 cup chicken stock

4 oz. havarti dill, sliced into 4-5 slices

salt & pepper

 

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350.

Arrange slices of baguette on cookie sheet. Drizzle with 2 T. olive oil, and season with a pinch of salt & pepper.

Bake for 10-12 minutes, until slightly golden. Set aside.

In a cast iron skillet or small pan, heat remaining tablespoon of oil. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute, stirring carefully. Add wine to skillet, then add artichokes and let them cook in the wine garlic mixture for 3-5 minutes. Add chicken broth and bring to a boil. Turn off heat and lay sliced havarti dill on top of artichoke hearts. Cover with foil or lid and place into a 350 degree oven. Let cook for 10-12 minutes.

Remove, and serve immediately with crostini.

Zuppa Tuscana

March 29, 2022

A few weeks ago I was sitting at a restaurant off of one of our favorite ski trails (Lalapalooza at Sunday River, IYKYK). It was snowing, I was super chilly, and when I saw Zuppa Toscana on the menu it was all I wanted. When they put down a piping hot bowl of it in front of me, I was one happy girl.

It was so good I was craving it afterwards. So when my husband let me sneak off to our house to write the next weekend alone (I finally finished the ending to my novel! More on that later…), I cooked up a big pot of this Zuppa Toscana and sipped and slurped while I typed away the whole weekend. Toasted buttered bread for dunking was very necessary of course.

I love making classic dishes and falling in love with them, and being reminded that they are classic for a reason. The creamy broth still feels light and healthy with lots of garlic, and the potatoes and sausage are such a comfort combo. The kale absorbs all the flavor of the bacon and garlic and makes you feel so good. It has been so cold this week, and this soup is perfect for chilly spring nights.

I have to say I much prefer the hot, full fat sausage here. You can use sweet full fat sausage if your cooking for little people who don’t like spice but when I made a version with turkey sausage it was definitely missing something.

Also whenever I make soup, I always tend to use up the chicken broth container, so if you don’t love broth you can use 6 cups but if you don’t mind extra just use 8 cups or 2 containers. It’s so yummy to sip away on. This soup is one pot, under 30 minutes, and leftovers just get better each day.

I hope you try this to see how easy it is to feel like you’re in an Italian kitchen on a chilly spring night. It’s the perfect way to send off winter, and say hello to spring.  Happy eating, xoxo Katie

Zuppa Toscana

Ingredients

4 strips thick-cut bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

1 pound sweet (or hot if preferred) Italian sausage, casings removed

4 to 5 large russet potatoes (about 2 1/2 pounds), peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes

5 cloves garlic, minced

1 large white onion, diced

Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

6-8 cups chicken broth

6 cups curly kale, stems removed and leaves roughly chopped

3/4 cup heavy cream

1 teaspoon white wine vinegar

Directions

  1. Cook the bacon in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until crisp, about 6 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate with a slotted spoon; set aside to drain. Add the Italian sausage to the drippings and cook, breaking it up with a wooden spoon, until browned and no longer pink, about 6 minutes. Transfer to the paper towel-lined plate to drain.
  2. Add the potatoes, garlic and onion to the drippings and cook, stirring occasionally, until slightly softened, 6 to 8 minutes. Season with the crushed red pepper flakes and salt and pepper. Add the chicken broth, increase the heat to high and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until the potatoes are tender and cooked through, 12 to 15 minutes.
  3. Add the kale, heavy cream, bacon and sausage and cook over medium heat until the kale is tender, another 5 minutes. Stir in the vinegar just before serving.

 

Irish Soda Bread (My Mom’s Recipe)

March 14, 2022

 

I am re-sharing my mom’s recipe for Irish Soda Bread in time for St. Paddy’s Day! I have been on the blog making her Corned Beef and Cabbage recipe for my slow cookers (I always make 2!) this week also.

This sweet goodness starts showing up a few weeks before St. Paddy’s Day around her house. If you have been around this blog long enough, you know I grew up in a big Irish Catholic family with a mom who was a great cook. As soon as I was married, those food memories followed me and through lots of phone calls and dog-earred recipe cards, I managed to get copies of many of our families favorite recipes.  This one has been at the top of my list these last few years, and now it’s here.

When I was in college I went abroad to London. I bought Irish Soda Bread at the grocery store and it tasted like sawdust. I had no idea it could be a whole wheat loaf, so coarse and dry, since my thoughts of soda bread are light, fluffy, moist and sweet with bits of dried fruit and a sweet glaze on top. Because that’s the soda bread my mom made growing up.

I love the combination of the caraway seeds with the little bits of apricot and golden raisins she usually uses. And the buttermilk makes it taste so tender. It is wonderful toasted with a little butter for breakfast. It’s such a wonderful food memory for me now, and such a distinctive combination of flavors. (It’s hard to go wrong with flour and butter and sugar right?). I’m so glad I am going to always have it here on the blog (one of my favorite parts of food blogging – my favorite recipes are so easy to find!).

I love that this serves as such a nice gift for others too, and you can buy little paper or wooden bread pans for easy distribution.

I like to use the mini loaf sizes too, and you can usually cut the cooking time in half for the smaller loaves, just keep watching it until the edges are brown. I hope you try this, and it becomes one of your family traditions too.

Happy Eating, xoxo Katie

Mom’s Irish Soda Bread

4 cups flour

1 cup sugar

1 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. baking powder

2 ½ teaspoons salt

1 stick of butter (room temperature)

2 eggs

2 cups buttermilk, divided

1 Tablespoon caraway seeds

1 cup raisins, golden raisins or other dried fruit like cranberries or apricots, diced if large

 

For glaze:

1 cup confectioners sugar

1 tsp. vanilla

water

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix dry ingredients and butter together so it’s like a pie crust. Add raisins or dried fruit. Add caraway seeds and mix. Add eggs and 1 cup of the buttermilk and mix well. Add remaining cup of buttermilk and mix well.

Bake in 2 greased loaf pans for 50-60 minutes, until edges look browned.

While the bread bakes, mix together confectioners’ sugar, vanilla and enough water to form a glaze.

Remove from oven and then take out of bread pans. Drizzle with glaze while bread is warm.

 

 

Sausage, Escarole and Tomato Pasta

February 23, 2022

Guys, this is one of the best dinners I have made in a long time. I am so happy to share it with you all!

The idea for this dinner began when I read Alexandra Cook’s post on how much she loves sautéed escarole as a winter side. She makes the point that by February, we have roasted so many veggies that cooked greens hit the spot and are so easy. When I grabbed a few heads of escarole at the store, I got to thinking. Wouldn’t they be delicious in soups or pastas? The answer is yes and yes.

I looked around at other recipes online, and one of them was very similar to a simple pasta dish our family loves making combining these ingredients.

We usually make ours with broccoli or spinach (fresh or frozen) and use any pasta shape. I merged ours with one I found on Epicurious. And the result was amazing. I give all the credit to that glorious trio of shallots, garlic and wine cooked together to give such a delicious base. And the pasta water helps create the most luxurious sauce. Trust me, you are going to want to try it. And then make it again because it is sooo yummy.

The acid from the wine, the slight bitterness from the escarole, the sweetness of the tomatoes and the heat from the sausage, the comforting pasta, all covered in the delicious sauce is so well balanced. And the crispy fried rosemary on top is genius. I can’t stop thinking about how many other dishes I can use it on.

Just all around something I would drive to a restaurant far away to order again and again.

This one will be on heavy rotation because it is so easy, and so satisfying. Hope you get to try it soon too!

Happy eating, xoxo Katie

Sausage, Escarole and Tomato Pasta

1 pound tubular pasta like paccheri or rigatoni

2 sprigs Rosemary

1/3 cup olive oil

20 oz. turkey sausage (or any kind you prefer)

2 shallots, finely diced (1/3 cup)

2 garlic cloves, minced

1/2 cup dry white wine

2 cups cherry tomatoes

2 heads (about 8 cups) escarole, torn into pieces

1/2 cup parmesan plus more for serving

Directions:

Bring pot of salted water to boil for pasta. You will need some of the pasta water for the sauce so be sure to reserve.

Heat oil in a large Dutch oven or other heavy pot over medium high heat. Fry rosemary, turning until crisp about 2 minutes. Transfer to paper towel to drain.

Add sausage to the same pot and cook, breaking up with a wooden spoon or fork and stirring occasionally, until browned and cooked through about 8 minutes. Transfer with a slotted spoon to a plate. While sausage cooks, start boiling pasta, setting timer for 3 minutes less than the packages cooking time.

Be sure there is still enough oil in pot, if not add more to equal about 1 T. Add shallots to pot and let cook for 2-3 minutes to soften, then add garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add cherry tomatoes and let cook for a minute before adding wine. Scrap up the bottom bits in the pan and let simmer for 2-3 minutes.

With a slotted spoon or spider, transfer pasta to pot with tomatoes, then add escarole and 1 cup pasta liquid. Cook, tossing until escarole is wilted, pasta is al dente and sauce is thickened, about 4 minutes. Add another 1/4 cup pasta cooking liquid then gradually add 1/2 cup cheese, tossing until melted into a glossy sauce. Thin with more pasta water if desired, season with pepper and more salt if needed (you probably won’t if your pasta water is salted.) Add sausage back into pasta and stir to combine.

Divide pasta in bowls, and crumble rosemary on top and sprinkle with more parmesean cheese.