Parmesan-Crusted Chicken with Garlic-Herb Pasta

Parmesan-Crusted Chicken

Publix and I are best friends.  When you spend hours at the grocery store as I do you have to love the place.  I love their apron simple meals and have used them on this blog and have prepared them for my classes many times with great results.  This Parmesan-Crusted Chicken that I discovered this summer is a keeper.  Anyone that can boil water and turn on the oven has got it made.  Plus the meal is so delicious.  By the way for all of you that are interested school starts for me two weeks from today.  Where has my summer gone?  So I’m digging in and enjoying every last minute.

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American Potato Salad

American Potato salad

 

I read somewhere the other day that potato salad is making a comeback.  Did it go somewhere and no one told me?  It’s always at our house.  Potato salad is one of my all time favorites.  One of the best that I have ever had is Julia Child’s American Potato Salad.  Oh my goodness, it is so good!  You cannot go wrong with this salad.  When  I bring this dish to a get together there is not a morsel left.  It is that good.

Julia Child has always been an inspiration to me.  Just the fact that she went to culinary school so late in her life is astounding.  I was mesmerized by her voice and cooking skills on her TV cooking show way back when.  I spent many hours wishing that I might someday cook like Julia.  I do cook  in a setting much like Julia’s, but in no way with her same skills.

Years back on a trip to Washington DC I was thrilled to learn that Julia’s kitchen had been place in the Smithsonian.   I spent hours there just looking and reading.  I wanted to take it all in –  the kitchen that I watched Julia tell me how to roast the best chicken.  I was in heaven!

Julia’s American Potato Salad is exquisite !! It has so many layers of flavor.  One trick that my mother taught me is to add vinegar or pickle juice while the potatoes are hot makes a huge difference in the flavor.  I did find that one thing in the recipe did not work for me.  Her recipe calls for 2 pounds of potatoes.  On two occasions I tried the recipe with 2 pounds of new waxy potatoes and found the salad had too much dressing.  What worked well for me was using 5 pounds of Idaho potatoes.

You are going to love this salad and yes it has bacon in it.  Julia was way before her time.

Bon Appetit!

Julia”s American Potato Salad  changed slightly from Julia Child

Yield: 6- 8 servings

Ingredients:

  • 5 pounds Idaho potatoes
  • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 1/3 cup potato-cooking water
  • 2/3 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped celery
  • 3 or 4 slices crisply cooked bacon, chopped or crumbled
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons finely chopped pickle, sweet or dill ( I prefer dill)
  • 2 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and sliced thin
  • 3 tablespoons or so finely chopped fresh chives or scallions, including a bit of their tender green
  • Salt and freshly ground white pepper
  • 1 cup or so mayonnaise ( I use Hellmanns)
  • Sour cream (optional)
  • For garnishing  Crisp whole red-leaf or other lettuce leaves

Directions:

  1. Peel the potatoes and slice each one lengthwise in half, or in quarters if very large; then cut crosswise into half-round or quarter-round slices, about 1/2 inch thick.
  2. Put the slices in a saucepan with water just to cover and 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt per quart of water. Heat to a simmer, and cook the potatoes for 5 to 6 minutes, or until just cooked through. It is essential that they be just cooked through. Bite into a slice or two to be very sure. Immediately remove from the heat and drain the potatoes into a colander, but save a cup of the cooking liquid for dressing the potatoes. Transfer the potatoes to a large bowl.
  3. Stir the cider vinegar with ⅓ cup of the potato water and drizzle this over the potato pieces, turning them gently to distribute it evenly. Let sit 10 minutes to absorb the liquid.
  4. Add the prepared onion, celery, bacon, pickle, hard-boiled eggs, and chives, and season carefully to taste. Top with ⅔ cup of mayonnaise (or a mix of mayonnaise and a bit of sour cream) and, with a large rubber spatula, gently fold everything together until well blended. Taste the salad and add more salt, pepper, or mayonnaise as needed.
  5. Cover the salad and set aside in the refrigerator for at least an hour or so before serving. If it is refrigerated longer, let it come back to room temperature before serving. Taste and adjust the seasoning again.
  6. To serve, line a bowl or a platter with red-leaf lettuce or other greens, and mound the salad on top.

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Taco Cups

Taco cups

Whoever came up with the idea of using wonton wrappers as the base of everything from lasagna to tacos is a GENIUS!  These are great for parties.  Anything that does not require a fork when eating is always a hit.  And who doesn’t love a taco both kids and adults .  These are so quick and easy that your kids can put them together.  They’ll have a blast in the kitchen.

I first had Taco Cups at my neighbor Kim’s  along with this.  YUM!  I got there early and watched her put these together in a matter of minutes and popped them in the oven for just seven minutes.  She pulled them out and served.  That quick and I was sold!  Guests then topped them with their favorites such as this guacamole, sour cream, pico de gallo and jalapenos.

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Oatmeal Bar Cookies

Oatmeal Bar Cookies

I never dreamed in a million years that the recipe for Oatmeal Bar Cookies would be exactly as the drop cookie.  That’s why I haven’t made them thinking that the texture would be more chewy when all that dough was crammed into one pan.  But, I was wrong and I have wasted so much time doling out oatmeal drop cookies.  Bar cookies are so much easier to bake especially when you are dealing with about 5 dozen.  That was your good news.  The bad news is you have to wait for them to cool before cutting them unless of course you’re just going to eat them out of the pan with a spoon.  And that would be perfectly acceptable!

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Lemon Cake from Ina

Lemon Pound Cake

What do you do when you have a bag of lemons and a free afternoon?  You bake Ina Garten’s wonderful Lemon Cake that’s what you do.  Then step back snap a photo, slice  it up, and take it to all your friends!!!  This cake has been one of GI Joe’s favorite cakes for the past three years that I have been whipping it up.  The cake reminds me of the one that Starbuck’s sells by the slice.  Starbuck’s texture is a little more dense , but the flavors are almost identical.  Freeze by the slice and you will save yourself a boatload of money.     Today I made it in this new Wilton 16 in. x 4 in. loaf pan that my longtime friend Connie bragged about.   The cake came out lovely.  The only drawback is how to store it without cutting it in half.  If you have any ideas let me know!

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Cardamom Poundcake with Plums

YUM

Cardamom is my new favorite flavor!  I loved it in these cheesecakes and when I saw this pound-cake in Bon Appetit I knew that I had to make it.  Little did I know of the trouble that this seemingly simple recipe would cause.

Finding cardamom pods in Douglasville can be a little difficult.  I did find the pods at the Indian market.  The anise pods were a little more difficult.  Really the cake part was easy.  It was the plum sauce that seemed to be just out of my reach.  It took me several times to finally get the knack.  The first go round produced plums that were just way too mushy.  I did save that liquid and used the plums by pushing them through a sieve.  The next time I cooked more plums  using the liquid I saved.  I shortened the cooking time greatly which worked.

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Quesadillas

cheesy

We all want that quick fix for dinner.  I’ve found that perfect fix.  Quesadillas!!  They are fast, easy, so versatile and above all tasty.  My students made these last week and they had a blast.

The photo is from my second period.  I was so impressed with their work.  I loved their extra effort and their super excitement in class.  And yes they will get extra credit.

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Filed under Appetizer, Main dish