Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Italian Pepper & Egg Sandwich

I'll tell you that this sandwich brings back childhood memories. It's amazing how something so simple can taste so good. It's frugal and I also need to mention the quick and easy factor as well. My Mom always used green pepper but any color sweet bell pepper of your choice will do, pick your favorite or do a blend. Did you know that peppers are high in vitamin C and we all know we need that.

The only thing that I can not mimic here is the scrumptious Italian rolls that we used to get in Philly. They were delicious and made the best Hoagies ever, but here in Maryland they call them Submarines or Subs. I think everyone knows that Philly is famous for their Steak & Cheese Hoagies. My Dad swears during the war when he was a kid that they used horse meat instead of beef. If you came from Philly you will cringe here when eating one for the first time.....they put mayonnaise on it, yes that is what I said....mayonnaise. Every person in Philly knows you have to have fried onions, white cheese, hot peppers (optional but highly recommend), and ketchup on your Steak & Cheese Hoagie. That's it!  I may have talked myself into eating red meat again. I hope you enjoyed my blast from the past.

  • 3/4 cup egg Beaters or 3 large eggs, beaten
  • 1/3 cup diced green bell pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. granulated garlic powder
  • freshly ground black pepper and sea salt to taste
  • About 1 or 2 Tbsp. of freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano
  • 2 slices of Sargento Red Fat Provolone cheese slices
  • Olive oil in spray can
  • 1 Italian long roll, partially cut through long ways, I used a whole wheat one
Use 12 inch non stick skillet over medium heat and spray bottom of pan with oil. Saute pepper for about 3 minutes. Meanwhile whisk together egg, Parmigiano Reggiano, garlic powder, salt and pepper.

After the 3 minutes have passed spray pan once more with olive oil and add the prepared egg mixture. Scramble eggs until just set then form eggs into the shape of the roll, top with provolone and split roll, turn off heat. You may add a lid at this point if you want your roll heated through more or if you don't want your roll steamed do not out lid on. Place into roll as soon as provolone is melted. Enjoy!

I made this recipe for one serving but just think how easy it would be to double or triple it.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Creamy Penne with Chicken and Sun Dried Tomatoes

Pasta, garlic, basil, what's not to love here? Get your creamy pasta fix here while cutting back on the fat and adding some fiber. I just love it when you can trick your fat cells into singing with delight. This is a dish for a crowd so cut the recipe into half if you don't want a large amount. Or you may make a big batch and have leftovers. Guess what, it even tastes better the next day once the flavors have melded. Mangia! Mangia!

  • ¾ cup *sun dried tomatoes packed in oil, cut into thin strips with kitchen scissors,
  •  Set aside about 2 Tbsp oil from tomatoes for cooking chicken in
  • 2 lbs. chicken breast tenders
  • 2 boxes of Ronzoni Smart Taste penne pasta, but only using 1 full box and 1/2 of the second box, 16 oz. total
  • 1 whole bulb of garlic, separate cloves, peel and press into garlic press
  • fresh Basil, 3/4 cup cut thin with kitchen scissors
  • 2 cups 2% milk
  • 1 pkg., 8 oz. reduced fat Sargento 4 cheese Italian
  • ¼ to ½ tsp. crushed red pepper
  • Paprika
  • Salt
  • set aside 1 cup of pasta water before draining pasta
  • Asiago cheese, grated

In a large pot bring salted water to boil for pasta. Meanwhile in a 12 inch nonstick skillet cook chicken tenderloins in oil from sun dried tomatoes on a medium heat lightly coating both sides of chicken with paprika and salt. You will need to cook this in two separate batches only cooking 1 lb at a time.

Now that chicken is cooking as soon as the water comes to a boil add the pasta and stir well. Once it comes to a boil again, cook it for 15 minutes. This is longer than the directions recommend but trust me it works well for this recipe. This is a perfect time to prepare the sun dried tomatoes, garlic and basil while you cook the pasta and chicken.

Remove cooked chicken from heat and place chicken on platter (make sure it is not pink inside and it's fully cooked), then set aside.

Drain pasta when cooked, but make sure you scoop out 1 cup of the water and set it aside before draining pasta.

Once chicken has been cooked you need to add the minced garlic to the skillet. Saute garlic in oil and pan juices for about 3 minutes, adding basil, crushed red pepper, and sun dried tomatoes for the last minute. Add the 1 cup of pasta water that you saved to the skillet and deglaze pan by using a soft spatula gently scraping bits from bottom of the skillet to release the flavors from the pan. Turn off heat and set aside.

In a large saucepan add the milk and cheese and heat over medium heat stirring until cheese is melted. Once sauce is heated and smooth add the deglazed skillet mixture to saucepan. Simmer sauce for 5 min stirring occasionally.

In a very large bowl add pasta and sauce then toss it together well, add chicken and mix well. Serve immediately with grated Asiago Cheese.

*Sun dried tomatoes are very expensive in the grocery store, but I buy them in bulk at the wholesale
food clubs for a big savings.

Prep tips;
I like to separate garlic cloves and press down on each one with a flat metal sandwich spreader until you hear a pop, then the skin will peel right off. Also I recommend that you treat yourself to a garlic press, don't buy a cheap one because they never last long.

Separate basil leaves and stack them on top of one another holding between your fingers, then cut into thin strips with kitchen scissors. I also cut the sun dried tomatoes into strips with scissors as well.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

White Chili

How many recipes are there for Chili? There seems to be a never ending supply of variations on this
great hearty meal. So how about some White Chicken Chili for a change? I must say that it is different, but it's really yummy. So don't be a scaredy cat to try something different. It's not too spicy but it's seasoned well and the garnishes on this one really enhance the flavors. Get your chili fix on the White Chili way and warm up you chilly bones from the inside out. This is a lean soup too in case you are watching your waistline, but it's so good you'll want to try it even if you're not.

  • 2 cups leftover chicken cut into bite sized pieces, I prefer white meat or a mix
  • 2 cups finely chopped sweet onion
  • 2 garlic cloves peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 tsp. ground cumin
  • ½ tsp. dried oregano
  • 2 4.5 oz cans chopped green chiles
  • 2 15.5 oz cans cannellini beans (white kidney beans), drained & rinsed
  • 2 cups chicken broth or 2 cups hot water with 2 tsp chicken base mixed well
  • ½ tsp hot sauce, you pick your favorite
  • 1 bag Utz Baked Tortillas
  • Garnishes; low fat shredded cheese, fresh chopped cilantro, & chopped spring onions.

I like to crush some low fat baked tortillas in there first and add the garnishes. It gives it a nice corn taste without the added fat of regular chips.

Add first 9 ingredients and bring to a boil, then simmer covered over a low heat for 45 minutes. Ta da!!! Now it does not get any easier than that. Now prep your garnishes just before serving, no sooner no later (just kidding). Ladle chili into bowl and place some crushed chips on top, then add the garnishes. Now it's chow time!

This is not a large batch of chili so it's perfect if you don't want a lot made. Double it up if you want more.